More: Syrian President Bashar Assad, in remarks about airstrikes against Islamic State, says that 'you can't end terrorism with aerial strikes. Troops on the ground that know the land and can react are essential. That is why there haven't been any tangible results in the 2 months of strikes led by the coalition' - @AP
USAID says they are concerned by World Food Programme's announcement it is suspending food vouchers for more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees; 'We join WFP in calling on all donors to step forward with funding now to avert lapses in this critical aid' - statement
Canadian government says it is aware of reports that a Canadian has been kidnapped in Syria; Foreign Affairs spokesperson says it is 'pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information' - @KatieSimpson24
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.