A bomb that struck close to the Syrian capital Damascus has left at least sixteen people dead. President Assad was dealt another blow when one of his allies admitted the possibility of the rebels winning the conflict.
Islamist fighters have captured large parts of a strategic city in Syria's northwest. Jisr al-Shughour was made the Syrian forces' de facto provincial capital, following the rebels' takeover of Idlib city last month.
Military and logistic support from Turkey was the key factor in extremists' takeover of Idlib, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said. He has also blamed Ankara for the failure of a UN ceasefire plan in Aleppo.
Anti-regime groups have made gains in a joint offensive on a bastion of Syria's government. As the country's civil war continues, the UN-appointed mediator is hoping to restart peace talks.
The Afghan president says jihadist group "Islamic State" has claimed a bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan that killed dozens. If verified, it would be the first major attack by "IS" in the country.