The Russian parliament has voted to ratify a treaty allowing Russian troops to stay in Syria indefinitely, and making the air base in Latakia permanent. It also confers diplomatic immunity status on military personnel.
The UN special envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura has said eastern Aleppo faces total destruction that will result in the deaths of thousands of civilians.
After repeated air raids on rebel-held parts of Aleppo, including hospitals, Washington says it has abandoned its effort to convince Russia to impose a ceasefire in Syria.
As reports from Russia suggest it is sending more warplanes to Syria, the offensive by President Assad’s military on the ground is stepping up a gear.
The Russia-US-brokered ceasefire which took effect across Syria from Monday night appears largely to be holding.
A nationwide ceasefire agreement in Syria brokered by Russia and the United States has come into effect. It is the second attempt this year by Moscow and Washington to halt the five-year-long civil war.