Alison Meuse

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Syrian peace talks got started again in Geneva this week. One Syrian woman hopes to get an issue on the agenda - the fate of hundreds of thousands of people detained. It is a very personal issue for her, as NPR's Alison Meuse reports.

In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, tens of thousands of people have fled a brutal, Russian-backed regime offensive against rebel-held parts of the city. Many have fled deeper into the tightening siege, which started over the summer. Others have sought safety on the government-held side.

My conversation with a woman who recently fled the siege begins with her asking how I am. She's safe now, but is still afraid to give her name. She fears for her son — still fighting with the rebels — and for other male relatives who've been detained by the regime for questioning.

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In Syria, Russian-backed government troops have entered the ancient city of Palmyra after days of intense clashes with Islamic State militants.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, says regime troops have pushed into the southwest corner of the city. Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman says advances inside the city are slow, as ISIS planted mines in areas where it retreated.

State news agency SANA reports that the army took control of Mount Altar, a strategic point west of the city's famed ruins.

The U.N. Security Council is calling for immediate humanitarian access to help thousands of people trapped in the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in southern Damascus.

Yarmouk's 18,000 residents have been living under Syrian military siege for the past two years. But their situation has grown even worse over the past week, as the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, made a sudden power grab from the neighboring suburbs.

Kurdish militiamen have wrested control of the Syrian town of Kobani from Islamic State militants, according to activists. Syrian-Kurdish refugees in neighboring Turkey have been celebrating the apparent liberation of their town.

Kobani represents the first instance that the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has openly coordinated with a local fighting force on the ground in Syria. Syrian-Kurdish militiamen bolstered by rebel Free Syrian Army battalions and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga received airdrops of American weaponry and major air support.