Camouflaged Iranian  soldiers march during the annual military parade marking the begging of the 1980 war with Iraq, in Tehran, Iran, 22 September 2015. Iran is marking the start of the eight-year-long war with Iraq. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

The Iraqi military has announced that it had agreed to share intelligence about the Islamic State with Russia, the Syrian government and Iran, an agre(...)

 Men help an injured boy who survived what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus in late August. Although international attention has turned to Islamic State atrocities, the country’s war has been far more destructive and deadly.  Photograph: Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Every morning, at the dawn call to prayer, women and children move silently from the Damascus suburb of Douma to the surrounding farm fields, seeking (...)

A Russian SU-33 naval fighter plane  during a drill  west of the Crimean city of Simferopol. US intelligence expects fighter jets to form part of the next phase of the buildup at the airbase in Syria. Photograph: Pavel Rebrov/Reuters

Russia has positioned tanks at a Syrian airfield where it has been steadily building up defenses, two US officials told Reuters on Monday, speaking on(...)

The temple of Baal Shamin in the historical city of Palmyra, which was destroyed by Islamic State.  Photograph: Reuters/Stringer 0:43

Islamic State militants have razed a fifth-5th century Roman Catholic monastery and blown up one of the best-preserved first-1st century temples in Pa(...)

A member of the allied Iraqi forces consisting of the Iraqi army and fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units, fires heavy artillery on the front line during battles with Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on the road leading to Saqlawiya, north of Fallujah. Photograph: Mohammed Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State militants have seized a key town in central Syria after clashes with president Bashar Assad’s forces, according to activists. The town o(...)

This photo provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group Ariha Today, which has been authenticated, shows Syrian civil defence workers standing on the rubble of a destroyed building that was damaged after a government warplane crashed in the centre of the town of Ariha on Monday. Photograph: Ariha Today via AP. 1:55

At least 27 people were killed and dozens injured when a Syrian army fighter jet crashed into a busy marketplace in the rebel-held northwestern town o(...)

Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Thursday in their first direct contact in four months as the United States (...)

Russian President Vladimir Putin with US Secretary of State John Kerry:  on his first trip to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met Russian president Vladimir Putin in a bid to ease badly strained relations over the conflicts in Ukraine and (...)

Shia fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces walk with their weapons at the front line at the Shia Turkman village of Bashir, 20km south of Kirkuk on Saturday. Kurdish peshmerga forces, backed by Shia militia fighters, have been attacking Islamic State-held towns and villages south and west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, peshmerga sources said. Photograph: Reuters

There is evidence that the Islamic State group used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against peshmerga fighters, Kurdish authorities in Iraq said.(...)

‘The New York Times this week reported what it called Obama’s and the West’s “quiet retreat from its demand that Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, step down immediately.”  That’s a euphemism for a very substantial policy U-turn, in effect an embracing of a morally dubious but pragmatic “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Above, President Obama gives his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Photograph:  J Scott Applewhite/AP

If Obama is “turning the page” on domestic policy, as he suggested in his state of the union address, there is also a sense in which he is turning an (...)