US forces airdropped small arms ammunition and other supplies to Syrian Arab rebels, barely two weeks after Russia raised the stakes in the long-running civil war by intervening on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.
At a desert base, Gulf state Qatar is covertly training moderate Syrian rebels with US help to fight both President Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State and may include more overtly Islamist insurgent groups, sources close to the matter say.
Qatar dismissed reports of rivalry with neighbouring Saudi Arabia over efforts to end Syria's war, saying the two countries - the main Arab backers of rebel forces - had "the highest level of coordination".
Qatar's backing for Syrian rebels widely regarded as jihadi militants might appear a diplomatic liability at a time when global alarm about Al Qaeda is on the rebound.
But that is not the way things are viewed in the Gulf stat
Opponents of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have been at an impossible disadvantage since the start of the Syrian conflict because the US and Britain refused to help them, an influential Saudi Arabian prince said.
The US and Bri
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has urged the UN Security Council to act urgently after regime forces 'massacred' over 90 people, including many children, in the Syrian town of Houla.
Opposition activists said on F