Islamic State (IS) militants have killed hundreds of civilians and taken hostage hundreds more during attacks on government-held areas in Syria's city of Deir ez-Zor.
The victims are among what the UN says are 450,000 Syrians living under siege across the country.
Syrian TV called it an "appalling massacre". IS militants slaughtered as many as 300 civilians in government-controlled parts of the city in eastern Syria. Most were either shot or beheaded.
A human rights group said IS took at least another 400 civilians hostage.
The extremists control most of the eastern province and have been attacking government-held areas of Deir ez-Zor for more than a year. That has left thousands living in dire conditions with very little food or medicine.
Food shortages are now common across the country – most notably Madaya in the west, but also in nearby Mouadamiya, just six miles from the capital, Damascus.
There the town is held by rebels whom the Syrian government is trying to starve into submission.
Russian planes drop aid into government-controlled towns while continuing to drop bombs on rebel areas. Again, innocents caught up in this civil war pay the price.
For some, even the dangers of winter haven't stopped them from jumping in boats and heading for Europe's borders.
Despite the plummeting temperatures and treacherous Mediterranean waters, 24,000 migrants and refugees have already made the journey to Italy and Greece. Hundreds have died at sea.
Three Syrian men were lucky, picked out by the spotlight of a rescue boat patrolling the Greek coastline. On the same night, an inflatable boat was spotted, crammed with people.
For many the risk is worth it, compared to what they face back home in Syria.