Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. Western powers want his removal from office as part of a Syrian peace deal. Photograph: EPA/Syrian Arab News Agency

“Assad must go,” is the constant refrain from US president Barack Obama, French president François Hollande, British prime minister David Cameron and (...)

Delicate diplomacy: John Kerry with foreign ministers from Russia, Sergei Lavrov; Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir; and Turkey, Feridun Sinirlioglu. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Reuters

The second round of talks on the Syrian crisis taking place in Vienna could be more positive than the initial October 30th session because the politic(...)

A Russian employee of a hotel teaches belly dancing to Russian tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

The likelihood that a bomb caused the crash of a Russian airliner flying from Sharm al-Sheikh to St Petersburg has already had a devastating impact on(...)

Migrants clamber on to a dinghy to sail for the Greek island of Chios from the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme on Wednesday. Greece and Bulgaria complain that Turkey does nothing to halt the flow into their countries of refugees. Photograph: Umit Bektas/Reuters

In celebration of the parliamentary election victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Ankara arrested three dozen opposition figures and mo(...)

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(...)

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(...)

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(...)

Western leaders now say  Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must be involved in peace talks. Photograph: Vahid Salemi/AP Photo

German chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must be involved in peace talks – the latest evidence that key we(...)

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad (left) giving an interview to Russian media outlets on September 15th. Russia’s recent military build-up in Syria aims to boost his embattled regime. Photograph: AFP Photo/HO/Sana

Russia’s deployment of military advisers, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and advanced aircraft at an air base near Syria’s port city of Latakia is(...)

The ancient city of Palmyra. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Islamic State (IS) fighters have beheaded an 82-year old archaeologist in the ancient city of Palmyra and displayed his body on a column in the main(...)