Syrian troops depart the city of Hama following a ten-day siege.(-/AFP/Getty Images)

• After failed secret meetings between Presidents Peres and Abbas, Palestinian officials have decided they will try the U.N. Security Council statehood route—challenging the United States to veto their bid. [AP/Boston Globe]

• Syrian forces’ assault on another Syrian city, the port of Latakia, included naval shelling. President Obama and other leaders told them to stop. [NYT]

• After a much smaller turnout of protesters than prior weekends, Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to find economic solutions to satisfy their demands. [NYT]

• This morning, Israel approved the construction of 277 new homes in Ariel, the major West Bank settlement farthest from the Green Line that Israel would seek to keep even under a two-state deal. [Haaretz]

• For the first time ever, a Chinese military chief visited Israel. [AP/Vos Iz Neias?]

• Changes in Egypt have led to the absence of police in northern Sinai and, consequently, a smugglers’ paradise. [NYT]