US president Barack Obama who has authorised surveillance flights over Syria, a precursor to potential airstrikes there. Photograph: Reuters

President Barack Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a precursor to potential airstrikes there, but a mounting concern for the White(...)

Iraqis fleeing the violence in Mosul arrive yesterday at a checkpoint in Erbil, in the Kurdistan region in north Iraq. Photograph: EPA/Kamal Akrayi

Sunni militants who overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as government forces crumbled in disarray extended their reach in a lightning advance (...)

The site of a car bomb attack in the town of Tuz Khurmato, north of the capital Baghdad, yesterday. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been behind a wave of violence in Iraq. Photograph: Reuters

Islamic militants have overrun parts of Iraq’s second-largest city, driving security forces from their posts and seizing the provincial government he(...)

Islamist rebels in the Hama region fire their weapons towards  warplanes loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s  air defence chief Lt Gen Hussein Ishaq was killed yesterday. Photograph: Nour Fourat/Reuters.

The head of Syria’s air defences has been killed in clashes near the capital, Damascus, one of a few high-ranking military officers to be killed in th(...)

Residents run after, according to activists, two barrel bombs were dropped by forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad in the Hellok neighbourhood of Aleppo yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

Syrian government aircraft have struck a busy market in a rebel-held district of Aleppo, killing at least 33 people in the latest deadly attack target(...)

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad (L) meets an Armenian parliamentary delegation in Damascus earlier this week. Photograph: SANA/Handout via Reuters.

Syrian president Bashar Assad is quietly preparing the ground to hold elections early this summer, even as the Syrian conflict rampages into it(...)

US president Barack Obama with Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, as secretary of state John Kerry looks on, after their arrival in Rawdat Khuraim, Saudi Arabia, yesterday.  Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

Over seven decades, the United States and Saudi Arabia forged a strategic alliance that became a linchpin of the regional order: a liberal demo(...)

Israeli soldiers on top of a tank, taking positions near the village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli-Syrian border yesterday. Photograph: EPA/Atef Safadi

Syria has warned that Israeli air strikes could destabilise the entire Middle East after attacks inside Syria yesterday left a soldier dead and sev(...)

Nuns, who were freed after being held by rebels for over three months, arrive at the Syrian border with Lebanon at the Jdaydeh Yaboos crossing. Photograph:Khaled al-Hariri /Reuters

Syrian insurgents released 13 nuns and three attendants who disappeared three months ago from their monastery in the ancient Christian town o(...)

A woman cries while meeting US president Barack Obama at the Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida, last week. Photograph: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

If you can’t spell it, you can’t get it. President Barack Obama pulled a Quayle Thursday night at a White House performance by the women of sou(...)