With Growing Brutality, An Uncertain Fate for Syria

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A woman named Aida cries as she recovers from severe injuries after the Syrian army shelled her house in Idlib, northern Syria, March 10, 2012.
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A day after a suspected chemical attack killed scores of people, a major conference on Syria is kicking off in Brussels. 

The conference, "Supporting the future of Syria and the Region," is focused on the rebuilding of Syria, an agenda some say may not be possible under the current regime, which may be unlikely to change anytime soon. 

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump signaled a pivot in American policy on Syria, saying that ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not the focus on American efforts. The White House did, however, strongly condemn yesterday's chemical attack and laid blame on al-Assad and former President Barack Obama, who took little action when Syria crossed his "red line" on chemical weapons back in 2013.

Six years into this brutal war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, what can the international community accomplish? For answers we turn to Robert Ford, former U.S. ambassador to Syria from 2011 to 2014, and currently a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.

And with the focus on bombings, chemical weapons and the refugee crises, there is little notice of the Syrian regime's abuse and torture of detainees.  But a Washington Post expose reveals the systematic torture within the walls of military hospitals which may lead to war crimes charges in the future.

Louisa Loveluck, Middle East correspondent for The Washington Post, has reported extensively on Syria and has documented the story of systematic torture within the walls of military hospitals in Syria. She's conducted dozens of interviews and has first-hand testimony of Mosen al-Masri, a detainee and survivor of torture inside a hospital known simply as 601.