The US, France and Britain launching air strikes this weekend on Syria in retalition for an alleged gas attack by the Assad regime – but niether side is likely to up the ante soon.
The Syrian conflict is a war of many sides. Here's a rundown of the key players.
The government is planning to take part in military action in Syria. But does it need MPs to consent beforehand?
The legal standards for military intervention are complicated and highly specific. It's not clear an attack on Syria would meet them.
History suggests it would be a big mistake.
Nothing the world has done has stopped Bashar al-Assad's regime from using chemical weapons – but it's imperative to keep trying.
Islamic State systematically militarised the education systems of captured Iraqi and Syrian territory to turn the region’s children into ideological timebombs.
Schools and students are often targeted during times of armed conflict. Abducted children can be recruited as soldiers and schools are ideal locations for military headquarters.
Public disaffection in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries betrays deep-seated tensions beneath the surface.
A vivid and remarkable body of writing is emerging to highlight the human cost of the war in Syria.
Ghouta, Syria is being destroyed. The latest news tells of at least 40 residents killed in a chemical weapons attack. But Ghouta's past was all about beauty, and its very name meant "green oasis."
Coalition forces are careful about how they report civilian deaths. And we think war is painless, as a result.
Why are Iraqi applicants for asylum in the UK treated so much worse than Syrians?
The Kurdistan Workers' Party is under mounting pressure.
What should the UK do with foreign jihadis who return home?
Even if Syria's armed conflict is somehow resolved, new proxy conflicts between regional actors are emerging on the country's soil.
Refugees hold religious prejudices against each other too – separating them by religion is not the answer.
The prospect of gas wealth has been escalating old rivalries and disputes between Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Greece.
Donald Trump doesn't have one foreign policy – he has several, and they all clash.
Russia is a major global power in outlook and reach, locked in a values-based confrontation with the West. But it still lacks all elements of a developed superpower.