The latest on Syria. Officially the Syrian Arab Republic, the current state formed in the mid-20th century after Ottoman rule and a brief French mandate. Originally called the Republic of Syria when it declared a parliamentary independence in 1945, the country was renamed the Arab Republic of Syria in 1961. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000, taking over after his father, Hafez al-Assad, served as president from 1971 until 2000. al-Assad and his ruling political party, the Ba'ath Party, have been condemned internationally for human rights violations and censorship. 

The Unstable Foundation of Earthquake Diplomacy

The humanitarian response to a natural disaster can be an opportunity to demonstrate the power of human solidarity among states and communities in conflict. While the levels of animosity and mistrust between Armenia and Turkey are great, they share the same volatile seismic geography that has killed tens of thousands of people in the last 40 years.