UN special envoy  for Syria Staffan de Mistura: hopes progress can be achieved in talks between the Syrian government and militants  in Geneva after ceasefires have been agreed in Kazakhstan. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA

The Syrian army regained territory from Islamic State in central and eastern Syria on Wednesday as ceasefire talks got under way again in Kazakhstan.(...)

Syrians walk in the street in Deir al-Zor after Syria’s army broke a years-long Islamic State siege on the government enclave. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian army has broken a 28-month siege by the Islamic State group on the city of Deir al-Zor, a strategic oil hub on the Euphrates river in the e(...)

Al-Ayadieh village, the last remaining active front line near Tal Afar, during an operation to retake the city from Islamic State. Photograph: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Politics impinges on all fronts in the campaign to oust Islamic State from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. All parties involved have their own agendas, which(...)

Muslims praying at the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Nearly two million pilgrims on Wednesday celebrate the joyous feast that is the culmination of the annual hajj, although more than a dozen of their nu(...)

Saudi’s defence minister Mohammed bin Salman attending a military parade by Saudi security forces ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. Photograph:  Bandar Al-Jaloud/AFP/Getty Images

The rift that has divided the Middle East between Sunnis and Shias and fuelled proxy wars in Syria and Yemen appears to have eased, enabling 86,000 Ir(...)

Spanish Minister of Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, shows a picture of alleged terrorist Younes Abouyaaqoub, identified as the driver of the van in the Barcelona attack.  Photograph: EPA

Moroccan youths appear to be easy prey for recruiters from well-developed jihadi networks based in Belgium, Morocco, and Syria. Last week’s vehicle ra(...)

A veiled woman sits  on a bench near an installation of wedding dresses by Lebanese artist Mireille Honein and Abaad activist organisation  at Beirut’s corniche in April. The installation was a criticism of Lebanon’s law allowing rapists who married their victims to go free. Photograph:   Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

The Lebanese parliament has repealed a controversial 1940s law permitting rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victims. Article 522 of the (...)

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces calls his comrades during the fighting with Islamic State fighters in Raqqa, Syria, on  August 14th. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

The Baghdad and Damascus governments appear to be co-ordinating their offensives against Islamic State (Isis) with the objective of uprooting the grou(...)

Remains of a car and buildings are seen following a security campaign against Shi’ite Muslim gunmen in the town of Awamiya, in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters

Saudi Arabia has announced the end of military operations against gunmen in the restive Shia town of Awamiya in the oil-rich eastern Qatif province. (...)

Carla del Ponte, who has resigned from the UN commission investigating war crimes and violence against civilians in Syria. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/Keystone/ AP

UN secretary-general António Guterres continues to support the work of the UN commission investigating war crimes and violence against civilians in Sy(...)