SYRIAN FORCES START OFFENSIVE. Syrian forces, backed by Russian warplanes, have reportedly begun a ground offensive, The Washington Post reports. Details are still coming, but if the ground offensive has begun, it would be the most significant development in the budding partnership between Damascus and Moscow to coordinate attacks against the Islamic State and other groups in the country; Russia has stated that it is joining the fight in Syria to help the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose reign the United States opposes. It is not clear yet exactly who is the target of this ground offensive, though some reports say the offensive is concentrated around the areas of Hama and Idlib.

POTENTIAL WAR CRIMES CHARGES IN KUNDUZ. Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent commission to investigate whether they should be filing criminal charges over the deaths of 22 hospital patients in a U.S. airstrike, The Washington Post reports. There is also a question about whether or not the United States violated its own rules of engagement in Afghanistan by striking the hospital, and whether it was done by mistake or not. The New York Times reports that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan thinks the troops who carried out the strike probably did not follow the rules of engagement. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said those responsible would be held accountable.

NUKE SMUGGLERS SEEK EXTREMIST BUYERS. The Associated Press has a troubling investigation out about how criminal networks with Russian ties have been selling nuclear material to anti-Western terrorist networks. The deals happen in Moldova, and the FBI and a group of Moldovan investigators have been working for at least five years to set up sting operations to track and stop the worst dealers on the black market. Why did the seller seek out buyers like the Islamic State instead of someone else with deep enough pockets to pay for such materials? Because such groups are more likely to use the goods to bomb the United States.