Mokhtar Belmokhtar: in June authorities in Libya said he had been killed by a US air strike there, but four days later al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb denied  that he was dead. Photograph: Ho/AFP/Getty Images

If Islamist militant group Al-Mourabitoun is confirmed as responsible for Friday’s killings at a hotel in Mali, it will be the latest time it has stag(...)

 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 (...)

Saudi King Salman with  Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Both condemned the weekend attacks in Paris. Photograph:  Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Middle Eastern leaders condemned Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Saudi King Salman called them “repugnant”, offering condolences to François H(...)

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(...)

Residents queueing for humanitarian aid at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, Damascus, in March. Photograph: Reuters

Palestinians displaced from Syria’s largest UN camp, in the flashpoint Yarmouk district south of Damascus, face an outbreak of typhoid that could spre(...)

Members of the Assyrian Gozarto Protection Forces, consisting of Sutoro militia, a pro-Syrian government Syriac Christian movement, and other Assyrian fighters rest and drink tea before heading to  the front line in the battle against  Islamic State in the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakeh on July 13th. Photograph: Youssef Karwashan/AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State’s reclusive leader has empowered his inner circle of deputies as well as regional commanders in Syria and Iraq with wide-ranging authori(...)

File photograph showing the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in the Syrian capital Damascus. Witnesses say Islamic State militants have taken control of large parts of the camp. File photograph:  Carole Al-Farah/AFP/Getty Images

Fighters proclaiming allegiance to Islamic State seized most of a vast camp for Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of Damascus yesterday, a bid to (...)

A soldier at the scene of a car bomb attack and armed raid by Al-Shabab militants on the  Maka Al-Mukarramah hotel in Mogadishu. Photograph: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

Islamists have forced their way into a hotel in Somalia and taken positions inside, exchanging fire with security forces seeking to regain control of (...)

Nigerians protest over the government’s failure to rescue the abducted Chibok school girls in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for abducting over 200 girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state, over two weeks ago. Photograph: EPA/STR

DAVID D KIRKPATRICKAs word spread like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook that Nigerian militants were preparing to auction off more than 200 kidnappe(...)

French president Francois Hollande (2ndR) walks with freed  hostages Marc Feret (L), Pierre Legrand (C), Daniel Larribe (3rd R) and Thierry Dol (R) on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, today. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters.

Four Frenchmen held hostage in the Sahara desert by al-Qaeda-linked gunmen for three years flew home and were reunited with their families today, with(...)