At least 20 people were killed in a car bomb explosion at a Syrian rebel checkpoint on Thursday (13 October) in the province of Aleppo, with the majority of those killed thought to be rebel fighters.
The explosion occurred near the border with Turkey, by the town of Azaz, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says at least 14 of the dead were believed to be rebels.
The checkpoint attack was run by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) affiliate, the Levant Front, according to a report by Al Jazeera. It was located on the road leading to the Bab al-Salamah crossing into Turkey.
Action against Syrian government
Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hinted that The West may be willing to increase military activity against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Johnson made no promises to the Syrian opposition but noted that "more kinetic options, the military options" were being considered, The Guardian reported.
The foreign secretary maintained that no military action would go ahead without the support of the US. However, Johnson revealed he held talks with advisers close to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The presidential nominee allegedly took a tougher stance on the issue than current US President Barack Obama.
"Most people I think are changing their minds on this and are thinking we cannot let this go on forever. We cannot just see Aleppo pulverised in this way. We have to do something. The mood of the House of Commons has changed from 2013," he said. "Whether that means we can get a coalition for a more kinetic action now I cannot prophesy. But what most people want to see now is a new set of options."
President Obama and top foreign policy advisers are expected to meet on Friday (14 October) to discuss military and other options in Syria, Reuters reported. US officials are arguing the US must take a more forceful stance in the war-torn nation or risk losing influence over its regional and rebel allies in the battle against the Islamic State (Isis).
Air strikes against Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases are one option. However, it risks engaging directly with Russian forces, which are helping the Syrian regime.
US and Russia to meet again
On Saturday (15 October), US and Russian foreign ministers will meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, to resume efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the 5-1/2 year civil war. According to Reuters, they may be joined by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, US officials do not have high hopes for the talks to end successfully.