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What you need to know about Syria today

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:53 PM EDT, Tue August 28, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Opposition activists report a gruesome scene in the city of Kafr Nabl
  • A car bomb kills 12 people at a funeral, injures 48 more, the state-run news agency says
  • Video is released of a Turkish cameraman taken captive in Syria
  • Turkey will set up more camps to cope with an expected refugee influx from Syria

(CNN) -- After days of global outrage over the carnage in Daraya, intense violence in Syria's civil war was focused Tuesday in a city farther north, opposition activists said.

Here are the latest key developments in the nearly 18-month crisis:

On the ground: Fierce shelling strikes Demonstration Square

At least 23 people were killed Tuesday in Kafr Nabl, where an aerial attack was launched on Demonstration Square, opposition activists said.

Protesters in the city, in the northwestern province of Idlib, are known for unusual and creative anti-regime slogans and signs.

A graphic video posted online purportedly shows the aftermath of the attacks on Kafr Nabl. Vehicles engulfed in flames spew plumes of thick black smoke as bloody bodies are hurried away on crude stretchers or in the back of a pickup truck.

In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war: In this photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center, Syrian men help survivors out of a building in Aleppo after it was bombed, allegedly by a Syrian regime warplane on Saturday, February 8. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Click through to see the most compelling images taken during the conflict, which is now a civil war:
Syrian civil war in photos
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Syrian civil war in photos Syrian civil war in photos
Child fighter with AK-47 on Syria border
Life in Daraya, Syria, before massacre
Aftermath of a bloody crackdown

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video.

Across the country, at least 140 people were killed in fresh violence Tuesday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said, including 54 in Damascus and its suburbs.

Twelve people were killed and 48 injured when a car bomb exploded during a funeral in Jaramana, in the Damascus countryside, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group, said the funeral was for two regime supporters killed Monday.

Jaramana, a predominately Christian town, is known for housing many Iraqi refugees.

Government reports gains in Aleppo

Syrian authorities "inflicted heavy losses upon the mercenary terrorists" in the major battleground city of Aleppo, SANA reported Tuesday.

Regime forces and their allies have been fighting rebels -- whom the government calls "terrorists" -- for control of Syria's largest city for weeks.

Report about life after al-Assad

No one can say for sure if or when President Bashar al-Assad's regime will fall. But a report with recommendations on a post-Assad Syria was released Tuesday.

The U.S. Institute of Peace and the Germany Institute for International Security Affairs have produced "The Day After Project: Supporting a Democratic Transition in Syria."

The effort includes Syrians across the spectrum of the opposition, including senior members of the Syrian National Council and the Local Coordination Committees of Syria; former generals, economists and lawyers; and representatives from the Syrian diaspora.

The project was a year in the making, Rafif Jouejati, an LCC spokeswoman, said on Twitter. It contains recommendations that Syrians can "accept, reject or restate," she said.

Among the suggestions: Writing a new constitution, establishing stability and putting together a special tribunal to try regime members, Jouejati said.

The peace institute facilitated the Iraq Study Group report, which made recommendations in 2006 on ending the war there.

Rebels claim they shot down regime copter

Appeal for release of cameraman

A Turkish cameraman has been taken captive in Syria, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

The group appealed for the immediate release of Cuneyt Unal, who appeared bruised and exhausted in a video aired Tuesday. He's been missing since August 20.

Unal was working in Syria for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Al-Hurra. His co-worker Bashar Fahmi, a Palestinian reporter, is also missing.

Unal doesn't specify in the video who is holding him, the CPJ says, but talks of an armed group that has clashed with Syrian soldiers. The CPJ says it is holding Syrian authorities responsible for his well-being.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington also appealed for Unal's release. It pointed to reports from Turkey that suggest he was forced to make a statement shown on Syrian state TV under duress.

The region: Refugee crisis worsens in Jordan, Turkey

Turkey is to open four new refugee camps to shelter an expected 43,000 Syrians fleeing the violence across the border, according to the semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

Sybella Wilkes, of the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, told CNN the Turkish government was preparing for the possibility that up to 200,000 refugees will cross into Turkey in the coming months.

"We have a seen a massive increase in the number of refuges, and as many as 5,000 have fled to the border in a single day," she said

So far, about 80,000 Syrian refugees have sought sanctuary in Turkey. Others have bolted to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, has appealed for more money to help the throng of Syrian refugees escaping to Jordan.

About 17,000 people -- half of them children -- are sheltered at the Za'atari refugee camp in northern Jordan, but numbers increase daily with hundreds of new arrivals from Syria, the agency said.

Foreign minister: Americans behind the violence

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told the British newspaper The Independent that the United States was a "major player" in the war and "the rest are its instruments."

In an interview in English, Muallem said: "I tell the Americans: 'You must read well what you did in Afghanistan and Somalia. I don't understand your slogan of fighting international terrorism when you are supporting this terrorism in Syria.'"

Will Syria's first lady take a stand or stand by her man?

Syria's neighbors: What's at stake?

Syria explained: What you need to know

CNN's Saad Abedine, Joe Sterling, Hamdi Alkhshali and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

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