A malnourished Yemeni child receives treatment amid worsening malnutrition in the emergency ward of a hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, on Wednesday. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

‘Worst humanitarian crisis in the world’ deteriorating over closure of ports and airports

Heavily damaged buildings in Raqa on October 21st, 2017, after a Kurd-led force expelled the jihadists from the northern Syrian city. There are claims many were transported out. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

‘Raqqa’s Dirty Secret’ says 250 fighters with families and arms were given safe passage

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who  many in Lebanon have no doubt is the prime mover of Hariri’s resignation.  Photograph:  Saudi Press Agency/via Reuters

Lebanese cabinet to defy Riyadh and carry on without prime minister

Pro-government Syrian troops taking up positions during fighting with insurgents near Boukamal, on the Iraq-Syria border, November 8th, 2017. Videograb: Syrian Central Military Media/AP

Government, opposition factions and other actors jostle for advantage ahead of peace talks

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman: The abrupt clampdown on corruption could exacerbate criticism of other risky policies he has adopted. Photograph:  Presidency Press Service/Pool Photo via AP

Arrest of senior figures in corruption drive stuns kingdom and creates risks for prince

Toumeh ‘Tommy’ Toumeh (91): The Toumehs were the only Christian family to remain in al-Waer. Before the war there had been 300 Christian families and two churches in the Homs suburb. Photograph: Michael Jansen

‘Tommy’ Toumeh, 91, faced down armed fighters who told him to leave his home in 2014

Ghassan Jansiz in his bookshop in Homs. Photograph: Michael Jansen

Couple’s English-language bookshop part of efforts to preserve Syria’s built heritage

Aleppo regeneration: solar-powered street lights in damaged eastern zone. Photograph: Michael Jansen

Commercial and leisure activities return to Syrian city as half a million people drift back

At an abandoned factory at Deir al-Zor, the army displays thousands of weapons captured from Islamic State here and in the town of Mayadin, to the south.

Cruel ‘caliphate’ of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on skids amid Syrian army and Kurdish squeeze

Wafa Mahmoud Yusif and her son Walid, with a photograph of her elder son, who was killed in the Syrian war. Photograph: Michael Jansen

Syria’s rehabilitation is under way, but the pace varies greatly between city, town and village

Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmad (right), head of the Fatah delegation, and Fatah colleague Rawhi Fattouh (second right),  after signing a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal in Cairo today after the two rival Palestinian movements ended their decade-long split following negotiations overseen by Egypt. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Both Palestinian organisations pressured from all sides at a time of extreme weakness

Members of Syrian Democratic Forces hold a flag of the Islamic State militants recovered at a building next to the stadium in Raqqa, Syria. Photograph: Reuters/Erik De Castro

In Iraq and Syria the terrorist group has lost most of its territory and, with it, its power

Hamas’s overall leader Ismail Haniya waves as he arrives for a meeting with Palestinian officials in Gaza City. Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

Rival Palestinian movements attempt to reconcile after 10 years of open hostility

King Salman: Syria, Iran, oil and expanding commercial ties on the agenda. Photograph:  Bandar al-Jaloud/AFP/Getty Images

King Salman embarks on three-day visit to Moscow as part of major policy shift

Russian  sappers clearing the historic city of Palmyra of mines after it was recaptured from Isis. Photograph: TASS via Getty Images

Second anniversary of Kremlin decision to back Assad with military might

Wheels of progress?: from June 2018 women will be able to get a driving licence without a male relative’s permission  and to drive without a male relative in the car. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty

The kingdom’s women look set to be kept away from the wheels of power

Kurds celebrate to show their support for the independence referendum in Duhok, Iraq, September 26th, 2017. Photograph: Ari Jalal/Reuters

Baghdad believes talks would prompt Sunni areas to renew demand for autonomy

Shoppers at the al-Qaysareyah market in Kirkuk, Iraq, ahead of the Kurdish independence vote. Photograph: Ivor Prickett/The New York Times

Baghdad issues threats and international powers condemn the ballot ahead of the vote

A recent photo from  the Saudi Royal Palace  shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (32) at a meeting with a Yemeni delegation in Jeddah. File photograph: Bandar Al-Jaloud/AFP/Getty Images

Crown prince Mohamed bin Salman highly sensitive to dissent as his policies are failing

  UN special envoy  for Syria Staffan de Mistura: hopes progress can be achieved in talks between the Syrian government and militants  in Geneva after ceasefires have been agreed in Kazakhstan. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA

Negotiators hope to extend ‘deconfliction’ zones during sixth conference in Kazakhstan

Syrians walk in the street in Deir al-Zor after Syria’s army broke a years-long Islamic State siege on the government enclave. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Bashar al-Assad praises troops amid continued push to drive Islamic State from the city

Al-Ayadieh village, the last remaining active front line near Tal Afar, during an operation to retake the city from Islamic State. Photograph: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Confusion and uncertainty reign as political, ethnic and hidden agendas play out

Muslims praying at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

World’s most multicultural religious event gets under way in Saudi Arabia

Saudi’s defence minister Mohammed bin Salman attending a military parade by Saudi security forces ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. Photograph:  Bandar Al-Jaloud/AFP/Getty Images

Some 86,000 Iranian pilgrims to attend annual Hajj for the first time in two years

Spanish Minister of Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, shows a picture of alleged terrorist Younes Abouyaaqoub, identified as the driver of the van in the Barcelona attack.  Photograph: EPA

Well-developed networks are targeting young Moroccans to join terrorist cells

A veiled woman sits  on a bench near an installation of wedding dresses by Lebanese artist Mireille Honein and Abaad activist organisation  at Beirut’s corniche in April. The installation was a criticism of Lebanon’s law allowing rapists who married their victims to go free. Photograph:   Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

‘Overdue’ move welcomed to scrap 1940s law allowing rapists avoid prosecution through marriage

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces calls his comrades during the fighting with Islamic State fighters in Raqqa, Syria, on  August 14th. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

US and Iran-backed Iraqi forces are on outskirts of Isis-held Tal Afar, west of Mosul

Remains of a car and buildings are seen following a security campaign against Shi’ite Muslim gunmen in the town of Awamiya, in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters

Fears for heritage of 400-year-old Shia town Awamiya after destruction and violence

Carla del Ponte, who has resigned from the UN commission investigating war crimes and violence against civilians in Syria. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/Keystone/ AP

Carla del Ponte blames lack of backing from Security Council to try perpetrators

 A cholera-infected child receives treatment at a makeshift tent at a hospital in  Yemen. Photograph: EPA/Yahya Arhab

Infection rate continues to rise as deliveries of medical supplies restricted

Syrian refugees arrive in Wadi Hamayyed, on the outskirts of Lebanon’s northeastern border town of Arsal, to board buses bound for the northwestern Syrian town of Idlib on Wednesday, August 2nd. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty

Transport of 8,000 refugees resumes after Jabhat Fatah al-Sham demands met by Hizbullah

Saudi  crown prince Mohammed bin Salman: under house arrest in his mansion in Jeddah and banned from travelling abroad. Photograph: Saudi Press Agency via The New York Times

Human Rights Watch urges authorities to explain Mohammed bin Nayef’s travel ban

Fighters loyal to al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Tahrir al-Sham (then known as Jabhat al-Nusra) and its allies smash a statue of the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in Idlib in March 2015. Photograph: Sami Ali/AFP/Getty

Tahrir al-Sham advance may lead to re-establishment of al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq

A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a walkie-talkie as he sits with a fellow member in al-Manshiyeh neighbourhood in Deraa, Syria. Photograph: Alaa Al-Faqir/Reuters

CIA programme to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has been deemed a failure

Saudi King, Salman bin Abdel Aziz (right) meeting with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson  in July. Photograph: EPA/Saudi Press Agency

Sunni council has always had divisions but numerous disputes could pull it apart

A Palestinian  sits outside his shop on Tuesday this week during the few hours of mains electricity the residents of the Gaza Strip enjoy every day. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Population of 2 million ‘seeing faster and faster decline in their living conditions’

Displaced Iraqi women rest in the desert as they wait to be transported in western Mosul, Iraq. Photograph: Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

Defeat of Islamic State in Mosul must be followed by emergency relief, security and medical care

A woman holds her injured child at a camp for people displaced from fighting in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, in Ain Issa, Syria June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

UN war crimes investigators accused the US and allied Kurdish-dominated DemocraticForces of being responsible for a 'staggering lo(...)

US president Donald Trump and the then Saudi  Defence minister, and now crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman,  in the  White House in March. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Move comes as the kingdom faces multiple challenges, including rift with Qatar

Former Israeli soldier and critic of Israeli policies, Avner Gvaryahu, is a spokesman with Breaking the Silence, a movement of Israeli soldiers opposed to the occupation of Palestinian territories.  Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum

Ex-staff sergeant: ‘There is violence on both sides, but Palestinians always pay the price’

An Israeli soldier keeps watch as the children of Israeli settlers play outside the Abraham Avinu settlement in the divided West Bank city of Hebron on May 29th. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty

Recognition of Israel rubs against call for end to bulldozers clearing land for settlements

Palestinian Muslim worshippers attend the second Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound on June 9th, 2017. Photograph:  Ahmad Gharabli/aFP/Getty Images

‘Tens of thousands come to pray in the lead-domed al-Aqsa mosque, the world’s third holiest Islamic site’

A shop vendor sells vegetables at a market in the old city of the West bank town of Hebron. The IMF reports the Palestinian economy has grown by 3 per cent annually over the last few years. Photograph: Abed al-Hashlamoun

Consumerism is rampant, but economic gap between Palestinians and Israelis is widening

Nabil Shaath, former Palestinian foreign minister,  with then taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2004. Mr Shaath argues the US could have achieved a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when the global balance of power shifted in Washington’s favour after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-90. Photograph: The Irish Times

Despite 16 years of failed negotiations and lost opportunities, the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel still has wid(...)

Israeli air force fighters over the Sinai peninsula on the first day of the Six Day war. On the morning of June 5th, 1967, Israeli planes destroyed the entire Egyptian air force on the ground. Photograph: AFP Photo

Lives were changed forever on June 5th, 1967, as Israel’s air force won the war in hours

Supporters of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani celebrate after he won the presidential election on May 20th, 2017 in Tehran, Iran. Photograph: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

Isolating Iran empowers ultra-conservatives and confirm their view of US as ‘Great Satan’

A giant billboard bearing portraits of American president Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in Riyadh. Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty

As both sides aim to revive relations, serious differences remain on Iran and Islamic State

 Iranian president and candidate in the imminent presidential election, Hassan Rouhani, at Hasheminejad international airport in the northeastern city of Mashhad on May 17th, 2017.  Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Contest between moderate incumbent Hassan Rouhani and hardliner Ebrahim Raisi

Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria,  before the resumption of negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition,  in Geneva, on Monday. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA

As latest round of talks opens in Geneva two presidents meet at the White House

Regaining control of the oil-producing province of Deir al-Zor from Isis and Syria’s eastern border with Iraq are essential if Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is to achieve his   goal of reuniting Syria. Photograph: Getty Images

Analysis: Stabilisation will allow Damascus to mount campaign against Islamic State

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades insists  talks on Cypriot reunification should remain “Cypriot-owned”. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

UN chief issues proposals to bridge gap between Greek and Turkish Cypriots

A Syrian man rides a horse cart in a rebel-held area of Maaret al-Numan, in the country’s northern province of Idlib. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Next stage of ceasefire deal involves determining boundaries of the four zones controlled by insurgent forces

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (left) shakes hands with Russian mediator Alexander Lavrentiev at the fourth round of Syria peace talks taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan.  Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Russia urges halt to fighting, freezing of front lines at four locations in war-torn country

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan  has rejoined the ruling AKP  after a nearly three-year absence. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish president dismantling country’s secularism, which will alienate liberal Turks

The new leader of Hamas movement in Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar (left) and Hamas senior leader Sheikh Ismaeil Haneiya   during a news conference in Doha, Qatar, announcing the new Hamas policy document. Photograph: EPA/Mohammed Saber

As the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem approaches, Fatah and Hamas are under (...)

 King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud: expected to boost the kingdom’s relationship with the Trump administration following its decline under  Barack Obama. Photograph:  Bandar Al-Jaloud/AFP/Getty Images

Appointments and decrees include naming of king’s son Khaled as ambassador to US

Nujeen Mustafa and her sister Nasrine near the Serbia-Croatia border in  September 2015. Photograph: AFP/Getty

The Girl From Aleppo review: Teenager Nujeen Mustafa finds her voice on a heroic journey

A member of the Iraqi security stands guard as Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul, performs at Nabi Yunis shrine in the eastern part of the city. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Ameen Mukdad was forced into hiding when Islamic State took control of his home city

An unmanned aircraft in  the Middle East. The history of US intervention in the region might have been avoided if in 1919 US president Woodrow Wilson had acted on recommendations of a commission he appointed to survey Arab opinion on governance following the collapse of the Ottoman empire. Photograph: Getty Images

Current effort to oust Assad follows many failed attempts to topple him

Yemeni children waiting to receive food rations: “Unicef reports 460,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.” Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Global indifference making dire situation even worse, International Crisis Group says

This frame grab from  the  Syrian Central Military Media shows Syrian rebels  after they were released as part of an evacuation deal.

Government-rebel agreement may involve transfer of 10,000 people from four towns

John Hourican, chief executive officer of Bank of Cyprus, has been asked to stay on  at the bank until the end of 2018. Photographer: Misha Friedman/Bloomberg

John Hourican became chief executive of the Bank of Cyprus following the country’s economic melt-down in 2013

The Riyadh-sponsored opposition High Negotiations Committee  celebrated the US strikes and reasserted its demand for President Bashar al-Assad’s removal.

Analysis: Attack risks collapse of state into entities run by al-Qaeda, Isis and other jihadis

Syrians bury the bodies of victims of Tuesday’s  suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in Idlib province, Syria.  Photograph: Fadi Al-Halabi/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: The horrific Khan Sheikhoun bombing is likely to harden attitudes on both sides

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson  with Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu   in Ankara. Tillerson said  the Syrian people would decide the future of President Bashar al-Assad. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

US moves in line with Moscow aim of defeating Isis, rather than removing president

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Jordan on Wednesday. Photograph: AFP/Egyptian presidency

Leaders stress need to find ‘peaceful solution’ to Syria and terminate activities of terrorists

Kirkuk provincial governor Najim al-Din Karim raises the Iraqi flag to fly next to the Kurdish flag over a government building in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk Tuesday. Photograph: Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images

Rise in ethnic tensions feared after Kurdish officials in Kirkuk raise flag over citadel

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak looking towards his supporters outside the area where he was hospitalised at Maadi military hospital on the outskirts of Cairo, in October 2016. Photograph:  Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Former dictator (88) returns home from military hospital after court acquittal

UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura  is welcomed by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov during their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Talks to cover governance, a new constitution, elections and ‘terrorism’

Members of the United Nations Development Programme working in a damaged alley of the ancient market in Homs as part of the  renovation project, which has now been halted. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

UN funding pulled from Syrian project to restore Old City and bring residents back

The ancient Aleppo Citadel was only lightly damaged. Photograph: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Experts say a third of ancient Syrian city destroyed, but much can be restored

The Baron Hotel, among the first western-style hotels in Aleppo built by the Mazloumian family in the latter half of the 19th century. Photograph: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

International Women’s Day marks an opportunity to return to normal life

Children going back to school at Kheireddine Al-Asadi School in eastern Aleppo, Syria. According to Unicef, more children were killed in the Syrian conflict in 2016 than in any previous year of the war since records began. Photograph: Khudr Al-Issa/Unicef/PA Wire

Some citizens return to city but major donations are needed to rebuild infrastructure

Syrians shop for fast-food in the capital Damascus. Photograph:  Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

The people of Damascus try to find pleasure in the small things as war continues in Syria

The body of a man is recovered from the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike in Saada, Yemen, last August. Arms sold to Saudi Arabia have been used in the war waged on Yemeni Houthi rebels. Photograph: Naif Rahma/Reuters

US weapons supply worth $300m to Saudi Arabia to resume despite broad criticism

Iranians arrive at Boston’s Logan International Airport on February 5th, after the courts put a stay on the Trump administration’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. A revised version of the order keeps Iran on the banned list. Photograph: M Scott Brauer/New York Times

Ban confirms suspicions of many that US perceives Islam as inherently violent

United Nations special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (fourth from right) and Syrian  government representative Bashar al-Jaafari (second from left) attend a meeting of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva on Thursday. Photograph: Philippe Desmazes EPA

Government and opposition groups to discuss formation of transitional government

Jihad Makdissi: The head  of the opposition Cairo Platform called Russia’s role in ending the Syrian conflict “essential”. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA

Opposition group calls Iran a ‘rogue state’ but says Russia has taken a ‘neutral’ policy

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura addresses the  Syrian delegations at talks in Geneva yesterday. Photograph: Pierre Albouy/Reuters

‘You know there is no military solution, only a political solution,’ says Staffan de Mistura

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura: said Russia had promised to urge the Syrian government to halt aerial and ground attacks on insurgent-held areas. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Mediator says he expects to create ‘momentum in the political process’

Chief opposition negotiator Mohammad Alloush (right) of the Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) rebel group speaks with his colleague during Syrian peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on February 16th. Photograph: Stanislav Filippov/AFP/Getty Images

Government in better position to strike deal but Turkey, Saudi Arabia want al-Assad out

 Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu  with US president Donald Trump whose statement that he favoured neither the two-state solution nor the one-state solution has unsettled Palestinians, Israelis,   and the international community. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Trump’s abandonment of policy could put weak pro-Western Arab regimes at risk

Yemenis walk through a market in the old city of Sana’a on February 11th. Some 6,000 combatants and 10,000 civilians have died in the current conflict in Yemen. Photograph: Yahya Arhab

The political vacuum caused by the conflict in Yemen has facilitated the rise of Isis

US national security adviser  Michael Flynn, who has put Iran “on notice” over it test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Michael Flynn’s warning that Tehran is ‘on notice’ risks destabilising the nuclear deal

Noor Hindi and Sham Najjar, who were born in the US of Syrian parents, demonstrate against the immigration ban imposed by Donald Trump, at Los Angeles International Airport, California. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Migrant ban could endanger 5,000 US troops involved in Mosul drive against Islamic State

Syrian families waiting to register at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon. Mr Trump’s order puts an indefinite hold on a programme resettling Syrian refugees. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

Sunni radicals claim US president’s ‘blessed ban’ will prompt US Muslims to join jihadis

A man works to prepare the Syria peace talks conference room at the Rixos President Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Kerry says parties are reaching a state of near exhaustion and end may be in sight

President Mahmoud Abbas: succession  issue has led to infighting. Photograph:  Mussa Qawasma/Reuters

Fundamentalist groups to join PLO and Palestine National Council

Special forces  in Mosul, Iraq, where Sunni  residents fear Iraqi Shia soldiers   might take  revenge for Mosul’s capitulation to Islamic State in 2014. Photograph:   Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Mosul fears Iraq’s government while Raqqa dreads anarchy once Isis is defeated

 United Nations soldiers patrol the UN Buffer Zone in Nicosia which splits Cyprus. Photograph: Katia Christodoulou/ EPA

Hopes are high of settlement plan as Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders meet in Geneva

Syrians fill plastic containers with water at a public fountain in Damascus. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

Opposing sides blame each other for bombing of pumping facility near Syrian capital

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. More than 400 people in Turkey have died from terrorist attacks since June 2015. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

The Istanbul nightclub shooting is Turkey’s 19th major terrorist attack since June 2015

Armed Syrian fighters evacuated from the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo during the ceasefire arrive at a refugee camp in Rashidin, near Idlib, Syria, before Christmas. Photograph: AP Photo

Three powers, including Iran, prioritise end to hostilities and preserving Syria as a state

Supporters   of the Syrian government celebrate in  Aleppo on Thursday. Photograph: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty

Attitudes to the government’s victory are very different in the city’s east and west

Syrians evacuated from  Shia villages under rebel siege on the  outskirts of Idlib are welcomed by pro-government forces on arrival in Jibrin on the  outskirts of Aleppo on  Monday. Photograph: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty

Buses bound for besieged villages torched by jihadis opposed to evacuation deal

An ancient monument in the city of Palmyra, photographed in April 2016 after the Syrian army had regained control of it from Islamic State, and which is now back under the terror group’s control. File photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA

Islamic State recapture of ancient city demonstrates that regime military is overstretched

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2015. Photograph: Reuters

Russia, Iran, Lebanon and Iraq help Syrian army resist attacks and reclaim lost territory

Iraqi soldiers hold a captured  Islamic State flag   during an  operation near  Mosul. Sunni citizens fear being branded as collaborators by their Shia liberators, as much as they abhor Isis. Photograph: Hadi Mizban/AP

Civilians pay heavy cost to protect their homes, lands and businesses

Syrian residents flee violence in the eastern rebel-held parts of Aleppo through the Bab al-Hadid district after it was seized by government forces. Photograph: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty

Election of Trump and assault on Mosul have added urgency to bombing campaign

Displaced people in Mosul flee Islamic State on Tuesday. A defeat of the jihadists could trigger conflicts between the forces now attacking it. Photograph: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Analysis: Defeat of the terror group could lead to the return of al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq

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