"Contrary to claims made by observers of the recent mergers, the alliance of Salafi groups is bad news for al-Qaeda. The formation of this alliance has significantly halted the drifting of Syrian fighters by virtue of its Islamic rhetoric and pragmatism. These groups have already drawn Ahrar Ash-Sham, a long-time ally of Jabhat al-Nusra, towards them while avoiding a confrontation with the latter," writes Hassan Hassan for the National.
"International diplomatic efforts must therefore focus on achieving temporary cease-fires to bring in the most urgently needed help, such as polio vaccines for children. Aid should not be a mere side show to the seemingly endless peace talks taking place in Geneva; as United Nations emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos insisted, it must be central to those negotiations," writes David Miliband for Project Syndicate.
"Those who advocate a more assertive U.S. policy argue that the most humane option is to ratchet up the pressure on Assad. The sooner he falls, the argument goes, the sooner the violence will end and refugees will be able to return home. But that calculation is naive. An attempt by the U.S. and its allies to overthrow Assad by force would be bloody and protracted and could have disastrous side effects, including the empowerment of Islamist extremists and a rupture in negotiations with Iran, an Assad ally, on its nuclear program," the Los Angeles Times writes in an editorial.
Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovich aims to sign a deal on closer ties with the EU, according to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, but she didn't say when she expected this to happen (BBC). Ashton also said Yanukovich assured her that any arrested protestors will be released.