Syria conflict

Australia suspends air operations as Syria conflict escalates

It's the latest twist in a conflict that one analyst has described as undergoing a "dramatic escalation" as an "uneasy battlefield coexistence" between forces with competing aims proves impossible to maintain.

In a statement, the Australian Department of Defence -- part of the international coalition fighting ISIS in the country -- said: "As a precautionary measure, Australian Defence Force (ADF) strike operations into Syria have temporarily ceased.

Syrian children in state of 'toxic stress', Save the Children says

The damage to an entire generation of children could soon become irreversible without immediate help, it adds.

The stress of war has led to increased bedwetting, self-harm, suicide attempts and aggressive behaviour among many children, according to a new report.

The findings are based on hundreds of interviews in Syria.

Save the Children says its study is the largest of its kind into the mental health and well-being of Syria's children amid the war, which began in 2011 and has left more than 300,000 people dead.

Syria conflict: Thousands hanged at Saydnaya prison, Amnesty says

A new report by the human rights group alleges that mass hangings took place every week at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015.

Amnesty says the alleged executions were authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government.

The government has previously denied killing or mistreating detainees.

Syria conflict: Bomb kills dozens in Azaz on Turkish border

The explosion occurred outside a courthouse in the town, some just 7km (four miles) from the Turkish frontier.

Azaz has recently been targeted by so-called Islamic State (IS).

The latest blast is the worst since a nationwide ceasefire - brokered by Russia and Turkey. IS is not included in the truce, which has mainly held.

No group has yet said it carried out the bombing, which according to some reports may have killed as many as 60 people and injured many more.

Water is the latest battleground in Syria

It is a half-hearted attempt to make light of a water crisis that is impacting millions in Damascus, a city that has been relatively sheltered from the violence raging elsewhere in the country.

Nour said that her family just got water on Tuesday morning, after four days without access. Her family quickly lined up to use the shower and she switched on the washing machine. Now, when she hears the sound of the water motor running, she says it is "like a wedding."

Syria conflict: Russia-Turkey brokered truce comes into force

The truce, brokered by Russia and Turkey, which will act as guarantors, began at midnight (22:00 GMT).

The deal includes many rebel groups but not jihadists such as the so-called Islamic State, or the Kurdish YPG.

The ceasefire appeared to be holding in most areas early on Wednesday, If it continues, peace talks are due to be held in Kazakhstan within a month.

Syria conflict: Army 'suspends Aleppo fighting'

The move is to allow for the evacuation of civilians trapped in the battle zone. Mr Lavrov said some 8,000 people would be taken out.

Government forces have retaken 75% of east Aleppo in recent weeks - areas rebels had controlled for four years.

The US welcomed the "indication that something positive could happen but we're going to have to wait and see".

"Our approach to the situation has been to listen carefully to what the Russians say, but scrutinise their actions," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Syria conflict: Rebels lose third of east Aleppo territory

The advance, after heavy bombing from the air, is a major blow for the armed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

State TV said government troops were dismantling mines and explosives and continuing their advance.

Thousands of civilians have fled the besieged districts after a weekend of heavy fighting. Hundreds of families have been displaced.

Rebel fighters have been driven out of more neighbourhoods of their long-held enclave in eastern Aleppo, as Syrian government forces continue to advance.

Syria conflict: Almost one million living under siege - UN

Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Stephen O'Brien said the figure had jumped from 486,700 to 974,080 in six months.

People were being "isolated, starved, bombed and denied medical attention and humanitarian assistance in order to force them to submit or flee," he said.

Mr O'Brien noted that the "deliberate tactic of cruelty" was mostly employed by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Syria conflict: Children's hospital hit in deadly Aleppo strikes

The director of the Bayan Children's Hospital was forced to take shelter in the facility's basement.

Activists say at least 32 people, including children, have been killed in Aleppo over the past two days.

The air strikes resumed on Tuesday after a three-week moratorium declared by the government's ally Russia ended.

Activists confirmed the resumption of government air strikes, amid reports by state media of large troop deployments on several fronts ahead of a major ground assault.