A gas flare on an oil production platform beside a national flag in Iran: exports have fallen to a million barrels per day. Photograph: Raheb Homavandi

Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi set to benefit from US move to make Tehran capitulate

Performers at the opening of the Al-Sham International Arabian Horse Festival in Damascus this week. Photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA

Damascus Letter: The job will be enormous and expensive, and may increase resentment

Aftermath of an overnight rocket attack, on the Libyan capital of Tripoli on April 17th. Khalifa Haftar has launched an offensive to take the city. Photograph:  Mahmud Turkia/AFP

US decision will aid Khalifa Haftar’s attack on UN-recognised government in Tripoli

Children receive treatment after a gas attack on al-Shifunieh village, eastern Ghouta, Syria, on  February 25th, 2018. The picture was part of a  story that has won  second prize in the Spot News - Stories category in the World Press Photo 2019 Contest. Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA

Efforts focus on constitutional commission featuring government and opposition groups

Syrians queue to fill their car with petrol in Damascus. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP

Damascenes are starting to feel safer but daily life is filled with trials and tribulations

People walk near the recently reopened Nassib border post in  Deraa province, at the Syrian-Jordanian border south of Damascus Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

The city where Syria’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising began is battered but still functioning

Khalid Ibn al-Walid mosque: A Unesco world heritage site, the mosque has been restored with donations from Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov.  Photograph: Michael Jansen

Chechnya funds mosque project as US, EU give Homs aid for food not rebuilding

Yemeni protesters hold placards during a demonstration outside the United Nations office to lift the siege on the port of Hodeida, in the capital Sana’a. Photograph: Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

More than 109,000 cases reported in three months as Saudi-led war exacerbates crisis

Although half of Islamic State’s foreign recruits may have been killed in action, survivors have dispersed and sprung up across the globe. Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty

Since it entered the Syrian conflict, Isis has recruited an estimated 100,000 fighters

Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who is alleged to have suffered electric shocks, beatings, waterboarding and sexual harassment during detention. Photograph: Reuters

Prosecutors accuse the women of initiating ‘criminal’ contacts to share information

Egypt’s  Sheikh al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb:  called for a revamp of Muslim attitudes towards women. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

Religious leader brands polygamy a distortion of the Koran and an injustice to women

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces who are opposing Isis fighters in the village of Baghouz. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Clashes continuing as group of Isis fighters confined to pocket still resisting, says SDF

Al-Hol displacement camp in Hasaka governorate, Syria: Ireland has set a pragmatic example to other countries by agreeing to repatriate Lisa Smith who is currently there.  Photograph: Issam Abdallah/Reuters

Loyalty and circumstance blinded many to Isis’s atrocities. Such people need help

Close ties: Iraq’s prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi  with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in Baghdad. Photograph: EPA/Ahmed Jalil

Agreements reinforce the close connections between the two majority Shia countries

Two unnamed Saudi sisters, aged 18 and 20, stand in front of a view of the building which houses the local Saudi consulate in Hong Kong on February 22nd. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty

UN human rights commissioner voices concern over arrest and detention of peaceful activists

A woman carries her injured child after leaving Islamic State’s last holdout of Baghouz, Syria. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

US survey failed to prepare ground forces for influx from Islamic State enclave in Syria

Fatima Hadi, a 12-year-old displaced Yemeni girl suffering from acute malnutrition, is treated at a hospital in Yemen’s northwestern Hajjah province. Photograph:   Essa Ahmed / AFP

60,000 people have been killed, and 85,000 children under 5 have died from starvation

 German chancellor Angela Merkel with Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud  in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Photograph: EPA/Guido Bergmann

Leaders urged to forge a common strategy on terrorism and to co-operate on trade and migration

Saudi Princess Reema bint Bandar al-Saud: well-versed in Washington’s ways. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP

Reema bint Bandar takes role amid lingering strains over Khashoggi murder in Istanbul

Women and children who fled the Islamic State  group’s last embattled holdout of Baghouz wait to evacuate the area in Syria’s northern Deir Ezzor province, last Friday.  Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

After first saying he was pulling out all US troops, Trump has bowed to pressure

Yemeni children  wait for food rations  in Sana’a, Yemen. ‘The children of Yemen have suffered far too long, living in conditions no human being should ever have to bear.’ Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Houthi rebels agree to withdraw from Hodeida in deal with Saudi-backed government

Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and Saudi Arabia’s  prince Mohammed bin Salman  in Islamabad,  February 18th. Photograph: Press handout via Reuters

First stop Islamabad gives royal welcome as prince frees 2,100 Pakistanis in Saudi jails

Iran’s  Hassan Rouhani,  Russia’s Vladimir Putin  and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan  at a trilateral meeting about Syria in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 14th. Photograph: Sergei Chirikov

Moscow, Tehran and Ankara find no accord at Sochi summit on defeating Idlib jihadis

 Members of Iranian revolutionary guards corps during a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution at the Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran on Sunday. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Clerics must recognise need to acknowledge aspirations of Iranians born after revolution

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters stand guard as a convoy of trucks transports civilians fleeing the battered Islamic State-held holdout of Baghouz in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on Monday. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP

Despite air raids, fighters from jihadi bastion in Kurdish-controlled area reclaim positions

US resident Donald Trump at a rally at Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq in December. Photograph: Al Drago/New York Times

Baghdad condemns US president’s plans to expand military in Iraq to ‘watch’ Iran

Pope Francis (R) shakes hands with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan  in the UAE capital. Photograph: Vatican media/AFP/Getty Images

Amid calls to press for peace in Yemen, the pontiff met with 600 religious figures in UAE

Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri  takes a selfie with journalists at the Presidential Palace in east Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday.  Photograph: Wael Hamzeh

France, along with US and other powers, had exerted pressure on prime minister Hariri

The government of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah  has submitted its resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas. Photograph: EPA/Abed  Al Hashlamoun

President begins consulations to form new government

France’s president Emmanuel Macron, Cyprus’s president Nicos Anastasiades and Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras talk in Nicosia. Photograph: Yiannis Kourtoglou

Grouping of seven EU Mediterranean states unhappy at burden of hosting migrants

 Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte at European Council in Brussels in June, 2018. Photograph: EPA/ Julien Warnand

Brexit and climate change also on agenda for seven states at ‘Club Med’ meeting in Cyprus

Construction workers at the site of a school funded by the US United States Agency for International Development  in the Palestinian village of Al-Jabaa, 15km  southwest of Bethlehem. Photograph:  Hazem Bader/AFP

Violence could escalate as Palestinian Authority faces bankruptcy

 Fortified Kawkaban town in  Al-Mahwit province in Yemen: the ancient site was destroyed entirely.   Photograph:  DEA/C Dani/I Jeske/De Agostini/Getty

Saudi-led coalition, Houthi rebels and jihadi groups laying waste millenniums of heritage

Hakeem al-Araibi, a former Bahrain national team footballer with refugee status in Australia, is escorted by immigration police to a court in Bangkok on December 11th, 2018. Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Human Rights Watch voices extradition fears on country of 4,000 political prisoners

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters  using an armoured vehicle provided by the Turkish army, near the town of Tal Hajar in Aleppo’s province, a few kilometres from areas controlled by a Kurdish-led coalition. Phoograph: Bakr Alkasem/AFP/ Getty Images

Kurds also against proposed development along the Syrian-Turkish border

A busy street in the northern city of Idlib, Syria’s mostly rebel-held province. Photograph:   Muhammad Haj Kadour / AFP

Idlib could become a base for the infiltration of jihadis into the region and Europe

Asylum seeker Rahaf al-Qunun has renounced Islam and could face a charge of apostasy, which, under Saudi law, is punishable by death. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Male guardianship treats women as lifelong minors

A banner depicting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Douma: Unless Syria recovers, millions of Syrian refugees will stay in host countries. Photograph: Marko Djurica

Saudis, UAE and Egypt willing to embrace Assad if it curbs influence of Iran and Turkey

Syrian civilians cross from rebel-held areas in Idlib province into regime-held territories on December 27th, 2018. Photograph:  George Ourfalian/ AFP/Getty

Shelling persists between insurgents and army as Tahrir al-Sham holds most of Idlib

A Palestinian woman and her child  in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 30th.  Photograph: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Trump administration has cut $300m funding, reducing agency’s budget by a third

President Donald Trump during an unannounced trip at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

Turkey appears determined to boost relations with Moscow as US becomes unreliable

A flag depicting Abdullah Öcalan, founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Photograph: Mauricio Lima/The New York Times

Move increases likelihood of Turkish invasion of the border zone ruled by Kurds

A convoy of US army troops and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia patrol near al-Ghanamya village  at the Syrian-Turkish border, in April 2017. Photograph: Youssef Rabie Youssef/EPA

As well as the enduring Isis threat, the power dynamics in Syria are finely balanced

Shots are fired from a vehicle during heavy fighting between the Yemeni government and Houthis in Hodeidah, Yemen. Image: Arab 24/via Reuters

Overall deal appears to have the support of outside powers involved in the war

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan: said Ankara would “in a few days” clear Syrian Kurdish fighters from northern Syria. Photograph: Murat Kula

US alarmed by Erdogan announcement but silent on how its 2,200 troops in field will act

Syrians in Beirut, Lebanon, preparing to return to their homeland. Photograph: Jamal Saidi/Reuters

Some neighbouring host countries are applying pressure on refugees to leave

A  Yemeni woman holds a placard at an anti-war rally in front of the UN offices in Sana’a. Photograph: Yahya Arhab

Expectation that 600 captives held since start of 3½-year civil war in Yemen will be freed

Both Hadi al-Amiri, above, and his nominee are backed by Tehran, while Muqtada al-Sadr is a nationalist who opposes foreign interference in Iraq. Photograph: Khalid al-Mousily/File Photo/Reuters

Six months after elections, appointment of an interior minister is bone of contention

Then US president George HW Bush talking to supporters in St Louis in October 1992. Photograph: Peter Newcomb/AFP/Getty Images

Regional rulers have praised the former US president but he has a controversial legacy

This grab from a video shows Syrian workers of a Raqqa group carrying human remains at the site of a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of civilians and Islamic State militants in Raqqa. Photograph: AP Photo

Amnesty says US-led coalition that did most of the bombing did not try to protect civilians

Mohamed bin Salman: since the advent of the Trump administration, bin Salman has been charged with making deals under the table with Israel and the US with the aim of removing Palestine and Palestinians from the world map. Photograph: Getty Images

The Khashoggi murder has focused existing Arab anti-Saudi antagonism on Mohamed bin Salman

Tunisian women hold up saws and signs showing pictures of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a caption below reading in Arabic “no welcome, Tunisians against the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to Tunisia”, during an anti-Saudi Crown Prince protest  in the capital, Tunis on November 27th Photograph:  Fethi Belaid/ AFP/Getty

Mohammed bin Salman will soon travel to Argentina for G20 summit

US president Donald Trump and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting in Riyadh in May 2017. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

US president’s refusal to blame MBS for Khashoggi killing is bad news for Middle East

 Yemeni pro-government forces on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida on Wednesday. Photograph:  Saleh Al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images

Hopes rise for breakthrough in conflict as UAE calls for early UN peace talks

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a press conference at the Canadian embassy in Paris, France. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Pressure mounts on White House to take action against those linked to the killing

A displaced child from Hodeidah province carries water supplies on a donkey: a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from preventable diseases. Photograph: Essa Ahmed/ AFP

Discussions between Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels were due to begin this month

Democrat Ilhan Omar, an immigrant born in a Kenyan-Somali refugee camp, was elected. Photograph: Craig Lassig

Approval for success of Muslim women, and for Democrats taking House of Representatives

US secretary of defence James Mattis:  envisages continuing Saudi air raids on Yemen in the next 30 days. Photograph:  AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Washington offer is not even-handed and invites Saudis to expand offensive

  People wait with their vehicles to cross Jaber-Nassib border crossing to Syria from Jordan on October 29th. A total of 344 refugees were said to have returned to Syria early this week Photograph:  Andre Pain/EPA

Although towns are no longer battlefields, many Syrians remain reluctant to return

Elderly men talk to each other in downtown Amman. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Economy sags in country with scant agriculture, tourism, energy and rule of law

Syrian refugees after crossing into Jordan territory with their families in 2015. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/File Photo/Reuters

Debt problem and high unemployment threaten small Middle Eastern nation

A class that lost pupils in an August 2018 Saudi-led air strike on a school bus in Saada province in Yemen. Photograph: Naif Rahma/Reuters

As world focuses on Khashoggi, UN warns of 13 million Yemenis facing starvation

 Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas stated: ‘Palestine was – and shall remain – on the side of Saudi Arabia.’ Photograph:  Abbas Momani / AFP

Saudi Arabia denies leaks that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate

A Syrian rebel fighter from the National Liberation Front. Photograph: Aaref Watad/AFP/Getty Images

Russia and Turkey negotiated deal for buffer to avert bloody conflict in civilian-heavy area

Jamal Khashoggi: a man who knew too much. Photograph: Mohammed al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images

Not even royals are exempt from being ‘disappeared’ by despotic Wahhabist regime

Syrian rebel-fighters from the National Liberation Front (NLF) secure a tank, part of heavy weapons and equipment withdrawn from a planned buffer zone around Idlib Photograph: Omar Haj Kadolur/AFP/Getty

Date set by Russia and Turkey aiming to impose lasting ceasefire in Syrian province

Girls perform a dance at the Unrwa-funded school in Nuzha, Jordan. Photograph: Michael Jansen

Nuzha secondary school in Jordan faced closure due to US withdrawal of $300m funds

A celebratory welcome for Khlifa bin Jassim al-Kuwari, director of the Qatar Fund for Development, which donated €43m to finance schools such as the Baqa’a elementary school in Jordan

Unrwa will have to launch a supreme effort to make up for the lack of US funds

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. Photograph: Chang W Lee/The New York Times

Mahmoud Abbas tells assembly Trump has reneged on all previous US commitments

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is shown on a large screen as he addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, this week. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Tehran replaces North Korea as US administration’s choice for primary external target

A Turkish military vehicle drives southwards along the main Damascus-Aleppo highway  in Syria’s mostly rebel-held northern Idlib province. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

Moscow and Ankara seek demilitarised buffer zone in Syrian province to avert disaster

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses  supporters on a screen in Beirut, Lebanon. Hizbullah will maintain a presence in Syria “until further notice”. Photograph: Aziz Taher/Reuters

Militant leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warns Israel of potential ‘unexpected fate’

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin following their talks in Sochi on Monday.  Turkish-US relations have soured, encouraging Moscow to establish a bilateral regional strategic alliance.  Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters

Demilitarised zone around Syrian province agreed by Russia and Turkey cannot last

A Yemeni child stands among armed supporters of Houthi rebels during a gathering to mobilise more fighters into the Hodeidah battlefront, in Sanaa, Yemen, last week.  Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Yemen conflict, dubbed the ‘forgotten war’, is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe

On September 13th, 1993, US president Bill Clinton stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzahk Rabin as they shake hands. Photograph: J David Ake/AFP/Getty Images

September 1993 was the best of times for Palestinians. Now they face the worst of times

Iraqi protesters wave a national flag outside the burnt-down local government headquarters in Basra, after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water. Photograph:  Haidar Mohammed Ali

Sadr’s call for Abadi to step down will stall government formation and thwart coalition

Supporters of Yemen’s Houthi rebels raise Kalashnikovs and signs depicting children killed in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on a bus in August, at a rally in Saada. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty

Houthis concerned Saudis may strand them outside Yemen during Geneva peace meeting

Syrian children at a camp for displaced civilians fleeing from advancing Syrian government forces in Idlib province. Photograph: Amer Alhamwe/AFP/Getty Images

As tensions rise, clashes between Russian and Turkish forces cannot be ruled out

 Palestinian students attending a class at Haifa School, which is run by the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa) in Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Trump administration’s withdrawal of funding from UN agency Unrwa a bitter blow

The late  Republican senator John McCain: Considered a great friend of Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

The late US senator advocated multiple pre-emptive wars to project US global power

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aka MBS: Since his father became king in early 2015, MBS has made powerful enemies. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

The shelving of Aramco’s $100bn IPO heaps pressure on crown prince Mohammed

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas: Donald Trump’s actions may show he has transformed personal animus toward the Palestinians into US policy. Photograph: Atef Safadi

US financial pressure seen as part of force exerted to accept ‘deal of century’ with Israel

A Syrian soldier stands guard as people  ride in a vehicle at the Abu Duhur crossing on the eastern edge of Idlib province on Monday. Photograph: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images

Al-Qaeda-linked group vows to fight on but insurgents in Syria province are increasingly divided

A customer views jewelry alongside a display of international currency values at an exchange in Istanbul. Photograph: Ismail Ferdous/Bloomberg

Muslims have curbed spending at a time of year when they normally hold lavish religious celebrations

A bus transporting Syrian refugees home on the border between Syria and Lebanon. Photograph: Getty Images

Damascus says repatriation a top priority and urges foreign fiscal aid for resettlement

Jordanian emergency services and security forces at a damaged building during a police raid on a house sheltering terrorists suspected of detonating  a bomb under a police van. Photograph:  Getty Images

Bomb was detonated under a police car and four security men were killed in shoot-out

Syrians gather at a site of car bomb in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP/Getty Images

Fears that many thousands of civilians could be displaced in event of devastating battle

Counting Iranian Rials as Washington reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic, triggering a mix of anger, fear and defiance in Tehran. Photograph: Getty Images

Tehran cuts imports of non-essential goods and introduces subsidies on food, medicine

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas: has dismissed the Trump administration’s plan as the “slap of the century” and declared he will not commit “treason” by discussing it. Photograph: Mohamad Torokman

Almost two-thirds back Palestinian Authority’s rejection of US as mediator, poll reveals

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci: “Afrika” paper’s prosecution  demonstrates Ankara is determined to export to northern Cyprus its mainland crackdown on dissent. Photograph: Petros Karadjias/AP

OSCE and European Commission defend freedom to write ‘Zorba the Cypriot’ article

 Samar Badawi receiving the 2012 International Women of Courage award from first lady Michelle Obama and  secretary of state Hillary Clinton. File photograph:  Gary Cameron/Reuters

Despite outward show of social reforms, Saudi authorities are cracking down on dissent

US president Donald Trump holds a chart of military hardware sales as he welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington in  March 2018. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

King Salman clarifies rejection of Jared Kushner’s plan in wake of heir’s ambiguity

A Palestinian Unrwa  employee at a protest against job cuts at its headquarters in Gaza City, July 25th, 2018. Photograph: Mohammed Salem

Trump decision to reduce funding to UN body aiding Palestinians will hit jobs and services

Damages after a suicide bomb attack  in Sweida. Photograph: Sana/Handout via Reuters

The attack, the first major Isis strike in Syria, targeted country’s Druze community

Demonstrators attend a rally to protest against the Jewish nation state Bill in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

In Arab eyes the ‘racist’ provisions have finished off the two-state solution

Buses  transferring Syrian rebel fighters and civilians to opposition territory in Idlib.  Photograph: AFP Photo

Buses to bring insurgent fighters and civilians to Idlib under agreed deal with Russia

Iraqi protesters hand over job requests to government employees in Basra, Iraq. Photograph: Essam al-Sudani/Reuters

Southern Shias to take to the streets to demand water, jobs, and an end to corruption

A picture taken  from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians going back to their camp near the Syrian village of Burayqah, after being turned back by the Israeli forces at the border fence between Syria and the  Golan Heights, where they were trying to seek refuge.  Photograph: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

US has conceded key Russian demands but Trump has not recommitted to troop pullout

A woman holds a Syrian flag in Deraa, where the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in 2011. Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

Putin and Trump to discuss Syria at summit, as Kurds seek to make deal with Damascus

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