German chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades, as European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker point to her seat during the European People’s Party congress in Madrid, on Thursday. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades has received assurances from EU leaders that Turkey would be expected to meet commitments to the bloc and adhere (...)

A man inspects a  house  hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, in the town of Marshamsha, in the southern countryside of Idlib, Syria. Photograph: Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Saudi Arabia has responded militarily to the Russian and Iranian-supported Syrian army offensive in Homs and Aleppo provinces by providing anti-tank a(...)

Campaign meeting of the Love of Egypt party in the city of Qena. Voting is to begin on Sunday. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Voting in Egypt’s overdue parliamentary election is scheduled to begin on Sunday at a time when there is strong voter fatigue among Egyptians who co(...)

A cross hangs over the street in  Beirut, Lebanon. The document says if the current exodus continues, by 2020 there could be no Christians in Iraq, where persecution is “extreme”. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

Christianity could be on course to disappear from the principal countries of the “ancient biblical heartland” of the faith, according to a report i(...)

Relatives mourn a victim of the twin bombings in Ankara. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey’s blaming of Islamic State for Saturday’s bombing in Ankara points to a wider problem for countries that have supported the jihadists. The att(...)

Palestinians use slingshots to hurl stones towards Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. Photograph: Mussa Qawasma/Reuters

Last Friday 19-year-old law student Muhamad Halabi proclaimed “the third intifada has begun” on his Facebook profile only hours before stabbing to dea(...)

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad: targeting of Syria shows Moscow gives priority to strengthening Damascus against near enemies rather than striking Islamic State. Photograph: Sana via Reuters

Russia’s deployment of war planes, missile systems, tanks, and armoured troop carriers has dramatically changed the shape of the conflict on the groun(...)

Sisters Canan Osman (2) and  Lina (8)  at Harran refugee camp in  Turkey. Women and children make up nearly a quarter of nearly 80,000 civilians killed in the Syrian war. Photograph: Cem Turkel/EPA

Women and children make up nearly a quarter of nearly 80,000 civilians killed during the 4½-year-old Syrian war, the vast majority being in areas cont(...)

An ambulance evacuates victims following the crush at Mecca. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has dismissed three senior officials following a stampede that killed 769 pilgrims during the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage(...)

Vladimir Putin’s Russian military is not only expanding its presence and role in Syria but has also agreed to set up an anti-IS operations command with Iran, Syria and Iraq

When Russian president Vladimir Putin meets his US counterpart Barack Obama today in their first encounter in two years, the Russian leader will be at(...)