An image grab taken off a video reportedly released by the Islamic State (IS) allegedly shows Japanese hostages Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R) in orange jumpsuits with a black-clad militant. Photograph: Getty Images/AFP/HO/Al Furqan Media 1:08

It is an unlikely friendship that ties the fates of war correspondent Kenji Goto and troubled loner Haruna Yukawa, the two Japanese hostages for wh(...)

 A handout picture from  the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian families being evacuated from Ghouta, Damascus, Syria on Saturday. Photograph: EPA/SANA

The Syrian wing of al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, said on Sunday it had shot down an army cargo plane carrying food and ammunition overnight, but Syrian (...)

A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria earlier this year. Photograph:  Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Reuters/US Air Force/Handout

US forces and their allies staged 39 air strikes on Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria over the past two days.Fighters, bombers and remotely contr(...)

Pope Francis and other senior Christian and Muslim clerics have urged members of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East to stay on in the region despite conflict and discrimination. Photograph: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

Ahead of Christmas, senior Christian and Muslim clerics have urged members of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East, the cradle of t(...)

A man makes his way through rubble at a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa. Photograph: Nour Fourat/Reuters.

Syria has said US accusations that its forces are targeting civilians with air strikes are “fabricated” and that Washington would do better to critic(...)

Tribal fighters take part in a security deployment against Islamic State militants in the town of Amriyat al-Falluja, in Anbar province. The jihadists’ momentum in Iraq appears to be stalling. Photograph: Reuters

Islamic State appeared unstoppable after its blitz through Iraq this summer, with its battle-hardened fighters continually raising their black flag ov(...)

Local residents watch smoke from an explosion rising over the Syrian city of Kobani as they watch the apparent US-led coalition’s airstrike against IS positions in the border region. Photograph: Sedat Suna/EPA

Air strikes by US-led forces have killed 553 Islamist fighters and 32 civilians during a month-long campaign in Syria, a monitoring group which tracks(...)

Supporters of Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia, at an election  rally in Slimania, south of Tunis, on Tuesday. Leaders of Ennahda say they overestimated the power of democracy alone to tame violent extremism. Photograph: Mohamed Messara/EPA

Nearly four years after the Arab Spring revolt, Tunisia remains its lone success as chaos engulfs much of the region. But that is not its only dist(...)

A rebel fighter on the  the frontline against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Aleppo. Photograph: Hosam Katan/Reuters

The Syrian conflict is being driven and prolonged by a war economy, by profiteering and dirty deals between militias. “Moderate” rebels openly form ba(...)

Turkish Kurds watch as airstrikes hit Kobani, inside Syria, as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

New US-led air strikes targeted Islamic State fighters near the strategic Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani yesterday amid urgent appeals for act(...)