A ferocious bombing campaign by government forces targets hospitals, apartment blocks and other civilian sites, killing and wounding hundreds.
The attack raises the specter of a full-scale offensive that could mean catastrophe for nearly 400,000 civilians trapped under siege.
Uncle Sam’s weakening is just fine with most Earth residents who pay attention to global events.
As Syrian President Bashar Assad’s fight against Islamic State draws to a close, violence has exploded in other areas, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.
Both Moscow and Washington remain coy about the deaths, which would be an embarrassment for both if it turns out that Russians were part of a unit that attacked a military force containing American troops.
The attacks were a response to an Iranian drone incursion. Israeli officials are concerned that Iran is establishing a permanent presence in Syria that could turn its aim toward Israel.
If Russia was involved, it may be a sign of Vladimir Putin’s determination to assert the prerogatives of his nation's sphere of influence in Syria.
“Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel,” Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu said, vowing that his country would do “whatever is necessary" in defense.
The Pentagon has announced an escalation of nuclear weapons development, raising concerns about the potential for more war.