Violence erupted in Culiácan, Mexico, when cartel members and security forces clashed. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has defended the decision to free a son of the jailed drug lord Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, whose discovery in a home sparked the ambush. How much power do the cartels have in Mexico? Plus, shelling continued in northern Syria on Friday, despite President Donald Trump's announcement that the US had brokered a pause in the fighting. And, we have a story about Pepe the Frog — a cartoon character and internet meme that has become a mascot of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters. Pepe is a provocative symbol in the US, widely used on message boards by white nationalists. Hongkongers don't seem to care about that and have rebranded the frog for their cause.
Throughout Syria's war, President Bashar al-Assad has managed to stay in power through "ruthless desire to rule and perpetuate the reign of this family," says Sam Dagher, foreign correspondent and author of a new book on the Assad family.