Members of al-Qaida's Nusra Front and other Sunni Islamists have seized an area south of a Shiite Muslim village in north Syria after clashes with pro-government fighters, opposition activists say - @Reuters
American hostage Peter Kassig's parents Ed and Paula Kassig release a statement regarding the video claiming their son has been killed by Islamic State militants, saying in part, 'We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause' - @FOX59
Editor's note: Peter Kassig, a former US Army Ranger, was providing medical aid to Syrians fleeing the country's civil war when he was captured inside Syria in October 2013. His friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and took the first name Abdul-Rahman. If confirmed, he will be the 5th Westerner to have been beheaded by Islamic State militants. - Tricia
US State Department updates Syria travel warning: 'The potential for hostile acts exists throughout the country, including kidnappings and the use of chemical warfare against civilian populations' - @StateDept
Free Syrian Army members patrol Attarib, on the outskirts of Aleppo, on July 30, 2012. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters)
The uprising in Syria was sparked in March 2011 in the southern city of Daraa with demonstrators angered by the arrests of young people who scrawled anti-government graffiti. Their grievances and calls for reforms were met with a violent security crackdown, reportedly by by President Bashar al-Assad's forces. The unrest served to catalyze anti-government protests across the nation.
More than 20,000 people have been killed since the uprising broke out, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in August 2012. In August 2012, Arab states -- including Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- urged their citizens to leave Lebanon after a mass kidnapping in retaliation for events in Syria raised fears that violence could be spilling across the region. - AFP, CNN, AP, Reuters
Toward the end of 2012, parties including Russia and UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi have worked to broker a peace deal between the Syrian regime and rebel forces.