Aleppo was once the economic heart of Syria, with factories ringing the city. But war destruction and a lack of electricity and materials has caused most of them to shut down.
Syria's most-developed rebel government is struggling for legitimacy because it can't afford to provide public services. Foreign aid is going to fighters, NGOs instead.
Early rebel optimism in Syria has given way to a grim realization that victory may still be years away. For the past two months, civilians have been fleeing Syria at a rate of 8,000 per day.
The loss of a famous mosque's minaret brought world attention to threats facing Syrian landmarks. But the Umayyad Mosque is just one in a long list of ancient monuments damaged by fighting.
With 74 percent of Syrian refugees living outside camps, life is a daily struggle to find affordable housing, jobs with living wages, and schooling for their children.
The leader of Iraq's local Al Qaeda affiliate has claimed sponsorship of Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant group fighting alongside the Syrian rebels – confirming what everyone long suspected.
International donors will like Ghassan Hitto, the newly elected leader of the Syrian opposition, because of decades spent in the US, but that undermines his credibility among Syrians.
Embattled aid workers in Syria say they can only do so much to counter the effects of the spiraling conflict, which is now entering its third year and shows little movement toward a political solution.
Syrian rebels' detention of 21 UN peacekeepers has set off alarm bells for international aid groups, but local organizations say that such incidents are rare and short-lived.
A US government report found widespread waste in the $60 billion reconstruction effort in Iraq. But development experts think waste in US aid spending is here to stay.
While reporting on Bulgaria's political upheaval, Monitor correspondent Tom Peter found that, while concerned, Bulgarians understood how their internal crises are viewed outside their borders.
Syria's Aleppo Province elected a local council this weekend, replacing an interim local government and taking a step toward restoring some semblance of order to the war-torn province.
Not all of the kidnappings in Syria are politically driven. In lawless areas not held by either the government or opposition, kidnappers are increasingly driven by cold cash.
Some of Syria's moderate opposition members worry they are losing a place in the fight against the regime as better-armed, more experienced hard-line groups proliferate.
Representation on Aleppo's Transitional Revolutionary Council will be determined partially by the number of each community's residents killed in the uprising and the level of destruction there.
If President Bashar al-Assad falls and the disparate Syrian opposition groups lose their common enemy, their ranks will likely fracture – perhaps violently.
Among those with money to throw around in the scrum for influence are groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, which the State Department says has ties to Al Qaeda in Iraq.
If Syrian rebels succeed in breaching an infantry school in Aleppo, they will gain some strategically critical pieces of territory, a windfall of supplies, and possibly a slew of regime defectors.
With opposition Free Syrian Army fighters increasingly accused of looting and other criminal behavior, the rebels have launched Revolutionary Security to keep them in check.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad appears to be favoring long-range weapons out of fear that soldiers close to the front lines will defect.