Last week, 700 people died in two days in Syria, in what has been described as the deadliest 48-hour period in the country since its conflict began more than four years ago. And 1,700 are reported to have died in the last seven days, in one of the worst weeks on record.
As the global spotlight shifted to Gaza, the past month has been particularly brutal in Syria. Why? Experts cite a bloody fight between Assad forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for control of the large Shaar gas field, east of Homs; an increased regime offensive in Aleppo; and clashes between ISIS, which is rapidly consolidating its territory in the east, and rebel factions like Jabhat al-Nusra.