Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has spurned any hopes of negotiations in the war in Syria, calling rebels terrorists. the international community responsed with concern and anger at Assad's speech, his first in public in more than half a year.
A group of nuns held by Syrian rebels since December has been set free. The Greek Orthodox nuns were released as part of a rare prisoner exchange deal between the rebels and Syria's government.
Saudi Arabia has listed the Muslim Brotherhood and a number of other groups as terrorist organizations. The Brotherhood has been the target of many Gulf nations since Egypt's Mohammed Morsi was ousted last July.
The UN has welcomed reports Syria's government has agreed to allow civilians to leave the besieged city of Homs. The body said it is ready to send in aid once it receives the go-ahead from both sides of the conflict.
The second round of the Syria peace talks has ended without making any progress. No date has been set for representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to meet face-to-face again.
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