Syria update

A great number of people are said to be fleeing from attacks by Assad forces in north-east Hama and south Aleppo in Syria.

Both cities are now expected to be re-taken by the regime soon.

Some 25,000 families are thought to have been displaced recently in Hama alone, which will fuel fears of a coming refugee crisis on the Turkish border.

Rebels are shocked at the current speed of the Russian-backed advance into opposition strongholds in the north of the country, while jihadist areas in Idlib are also starting to come under threat.

This may explain why Al-Qaeda Central today suggested that it had settled its differences with the faction that used to be known as the Al-Nusra Front, as both have established presences in Idlib.

The emergence of a new unified group is expected to be announced soon, which will target the Assad regime and the remnants of a decimated Islamic State.

Numerous reports today indicate that ISIS fighters are engaged in combat in Deir ez-Zur in the east of the country.

There are also ISIS claims of attacks to the north-east of Ramadi, and north of Baquba in Iraq.