Today is Day 1,108 of the Syria conflict.
Just last week, this blog posted photos of the 12th- and 13th-century Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers which the Syrian government recently retook from opposition forces.
GlobalPost's Simran Khosla has now put together an interactive map of all the damage done to heritage and archaeological sites in the course of the Syrian war, color-coded to show whether it has occurred through shelling, looting, or military occupation. You can click on the sites for a description of the damages, as well as before/after photos. Head on over to check it out.
The news roundup:
In the past 24 hours reports sugested that the US will be stepping up its covert aid to Syrian rebels (select rebels, that is) and that Pakistan — despite its denials — has been aiding the rebels for a while by sending jihadists into Syria. The US's assistance may include sending the rebels man-portable air-defense systems via Saudi Arabia (where Obama is currently visiting King Abdullah, having arrived Friday).
The official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency has posted a twenty-minute video of the president's wife, Asma al-Assad, comforting mothers whose sons are missing in the conflict. In the first half the mothers talk about their sons, interspersed with shots of the Syrian countryside while Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings plays in the background and we see images of Asma al-Assad walking in slow motion. Asma al-Assad then greets the mothers and they walk together, the video wrapping up with her speech to the assembled crowd, first focusing on their pain and then asserting that "Syria is like you."
Bashar al-Assad is planning to hold regular elections this summer and officially stand for reelection. "If the international community were to take these elections seriously then there is something really wrong in the international community," political science professor Hilal Khashan told the AP.
The conflict continues.