Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: 'Today, Democrats and Republicans spoke with one voice to tell the ISIS terrorists: we will find you and destroy you. The Senate has passed a strong bill to arm and train vetted Syrian opposition fighters as part of the President's strategy to destroy ISIS without repeating the mistakes of the past in the Middle East' - statement
More: When asked how France was able to secure the release of 4 hostages from Islamic State militants, Hollande says, 'France doesn't engage in prisoner exchanges, but that doesn't mean other countries don't. Some countries have done it to help us, I admit that' - @Reuters
Editor's note: In a what appears to be a new video uploaded to YouTube by Islamic State militants, a British hostage delivers an introduction to what he says will be other 'programs' exposing the 'truth' behind the Islamic State. The hostage says the aim is to prevent another war, and that as a captive, 'I have nothing to lose.' We are looking for verification of the clip and response from UK government officials. - Tricia
Editor's note: The pre-dawn Australian police raids in Sydney and Brisbane come days after the country raised its threat level to "high," citing the likelihood of terrorist attacks by Australian citizens radicalised in Iraq or Syria, Reuters reports. - Stephanie
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on legislation authorizing training Syrian rebels: 'I don't know how this vote will turn out,' says 'we are not supporting combat troops in how we solve this problem' - @KellyO, @seungminkim
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.