Rebels from al-Qaida Affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra Wave Their Brigade Flag.(AP)

In case you were wondering what could be worse than the involvement of Hezbollah in Syria, which has aided the Assad regime in reasserting control over crucial areas of the country, it’s the prominence to which Al-Qaeda forces have risen in leading the charge for the rebels. Over the weekend, the Nusra Front–the Al-Qaeda-linked rebel fighters–conducted a series of suicide attacks against Assad security installations in Damascus. It was the first claim of responsibility by the group in several weeks.

Jabhat al-Nusra claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks in a statement posted on a militant website, warning Assad that his “criminal regime” should know that its fighters “do not fear any confrontation with the enemies.”

The group said it sent seven suicide bombers wearing Syrian military uniforms to break into a police station in northern Damascus and a security compound in a southern district of the capital.

If you’re inclined to take the more cynical tack, I suppose you could consider it a good thing that two forces for bad are fighting on opposite sides of the battlefield. But while the death toll nears 100,000, the fact that terror groups have asserted their dominance in Syria only further complicates a dire situation and prohibits even the unlikely imposition of a political solution.

Efforts to host a peace conference–however ridiculous and far-fetched its sounds–seems to be the only option for the international community at this point, especially as related violence spreads into Lebanon and has even found its way into Egypt. Those efforts are failing with such dark and bureaucratic panache that David Foster Wallace would blush.

Talks between the United States and Russia to set up a Syrian peace conference produced no deal on Tuesday, with the powers on either side of the two-year civil war failing to agree when it should be held or who would be invited….

After five hours of talks in Geneva sponsored by the United Nations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said there was still no agreement over whether Assad’s ally Iran should be allowed to attend the conference, or who would represent the Syrian opposition.

The United States and Western European powers have joined Arab countries and Turkey in supporting the mainly Sunni Muslim rebels. Russia and Iran support Assad, who has made gains in recent weeks with the help of thousands of fighters from the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hezbollah.

Syrian Al-Qaida Branch Claims Suicide Attacks [AP]
Russia, U.S. Fail to Agree Plan for Syria Peace Talks [Reuters]
Eight arrested in Egypt after sectarian lynch mob kills four [FT]