The Syrian news agency announced Tuesday that the cabinet approved a bill creating the Syrian Space Agency, "a public body of a scientific research nature." From our Beirut bureau chief:

And correspondent:

Countries don't have to have the money and resources of the United States or Russia to mount a space program. India launched an unmanned orbiter to Mars in November for just $74 million, for example. Nigeria has a national space agency. So does Ukraine. And Syria didn't say what its space program is doing.  But the announcement comes just days after the third anniversary of a conflict that has killed more than 140,000 and created 2.5 million refugees.

The estimated death toll from the violence in Syria is more than 146,000 as the conflict enters its fourth year. The Post's Liz Sly explains the impact on the region and what we can expect moving forward. (The Washington Post)