Syrians drive with their belongings through Ariha in the northern countryside of Syria’s Idlib province as they flee an ongoing offensive by regime forces. Photograph: Aaref Watad/AFP via Getty

Russian and Turkish inability to end war in Syria has implications for the truce in Libya

 Thousands of Iraqis demonstrate in the heart of Baghdad on Friday  to demand the ousting of US troops from the country. Photograph:  Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images

Protest at behest of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr comes in wake of Suleimani killing

Demonstrators are sprayed by a water cannon during a protest against the newly formed government in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

New PM Hassan Diab refers to his cabinet as ‘rescue team’ to help avert economic disaster

German chancellor Angela Merkel, regional leaders and Russian president Vladimir Putin (front right) gather during a peace summit on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin. Photograph: Getty

Summit leaders call on all parties involved to accept ceasefire and resume political process

Anti-government protesters block a main highway in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday. Photograph: AP

Demonstrators mark start of uprising ’s fourth month and call for big protest on Saturday

 Iranian students protest following the shooting down of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800, at  Tehran university. Photograph: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

Protests in Iran over targeting of Ukraine aircraft go to the heart of rifts in its society

Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who dominates eastern Libya, has turned down a truce put forward by Russia and Turkey. File photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

In show of strength, Khalifa Haftar snubs truce as his forces continue western advance

 Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow in December. File photograph: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

The US should take seriously Tehran’s efforts to put an end to the cycle of violence

A British teenager convicted of falsely accusing a group of Israelis of gang-rape at the Famagusta district court in Cyprus on Tuesday. Photograph: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP via Getty Images)

British teenager’s conviction for false rape claim raises troubling questions for police

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (wearing cap): Iraqis must  demonstrate or attack. Photograph: Murtaja Lateef

Tensions soar as Baghdad views any US role other than fighting Isis as reoccupation

Maj Gen Qassem Suleimani: his killing has united pro- and anti-regime Iranians against the US.  Photograph: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via New York Times

Iran’s militarist will not be forgotten and the US will not be forgiven for assassinating him

An Iranian man holds a poster of slain Iranian Revolutionary Guard major general Qassem Suleimani during a mourning prayer in Tehran on Friday. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP

Killing of Iranian military commander certain to prompt wide-ranging repercussions

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Argues that Turkey’s interests are under threat from the advance into Tripoli’s suburbs of rebel forces. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Extraordinary session of parliament on Thursday to decide on controversial deployment

Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire during a sit-in in front of the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on New Year’s Day. Photograph: AP

Pro-Iranian demonstrators withdraw after violence at US embassy in Iraq

Iraqi protesters at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as demonstrations against the political system continue for the third month across Iraq. Photograph:  Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

Barham Salih refusing to designate Asaad al-Eidani out of ‘desire to stop bloodshed’

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman: Turkish authorities and the US Central Intelligence Agency have blamed him for the Khashoggi murder.   Photograph: Reuters/Ahmed Yosri

The Saudis may expect that the public executions of the five sentenced to death will put an end to the Khashoggi affair

Hassan Diab arrives at the presidential palace in Baabda after being named Lebanon’s new prime minister. Photograph: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Engineering professor Hassan Diab received only slender majority in vote by legislators

The Bayraktar TB2 drone is pictured on December 16th at Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Photograph: Birol Bebek/AFP via Getty

Armed drones deployed in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus to escort drilling vessels

Lebanese riot policemen react to firecrackers  fired by the supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah and Amal Movement groups, as they try to attack the anti-government protesters squares, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Clashes come on the eve of attempts to form a government led by reformists

Supporters of Lebanon’s Shia Hizbullah and Amal groups clash with riot police in central Beirut. Photograph: Getty

‘No aid package ... no bailout,’ says US unless any new government ‘capable of reform’

Iraqi mourners carry the coffin of a protester and citizen journalist killed at demonstrations in Baghdad. Photograph:  Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Amnesty urges Iraq to investigate unknown attackers as drone bombing also takes place

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: If he had not intervened Syria would have emerged with a limited number of victims, little damage,few internally displaced and fewer refugees. Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan would also have escaped the negative human, economic and political impacts of the war across their borders.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to get involved had disastrous consequences

Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Louis Raphael Sako: “There will be no decorated Christmas trees in churches or streets, no celebrations and no reception at the patriarchate.” Photograph:  Safin Hamed/AFP via Getty Images

Chaldean Catholic patriarch’s announcement after at least 430 killed in protests

 An Iraqi protester sits next to a wall painted with graffiti  in central Baghdad. Photograph: Murtaja Lateef/EPA

Adel Abdel Mahdi steps down after months of protests that have left 420 dead

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: next year’s G20 summit will take place in Riyadh. Photograph:  HO/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP via Getty Images

London-based ALQST says crackdown on dissent continues with wave of arrests

 Protesters holding placards and Lebanese flags shout slogans during a protest   north of Beirut on Sunday. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Demonstrators consider ‘shadow government’ as they face rising violence

Suspected members of Islamic State in a prison run by Kurdish-led forces in Syria. Ivor Prickett/New York Times

Islamic State likely to have time and space to target West, US inspectorate says

Palestinian children play outside their dwelling in al-Eizariya town with the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim in the background, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Photograph: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters

Pompeo announcement that settlements not considered illegal a big blow to peace deal hopes

Mohamed Safadi. Photograph: Cynthia Karam/File Photo/Reuters

Choice of veteran politician to head up new government meets with scorn and unrest

US president Donald Trump  and Gen Mark Milley: Gen Milley seeks to counter damage caused by Mr Trump’s “we’re keeping the oil” tweet.  Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

US to post 600 troops targeting Isis in east despite October withdrawal of forces

 Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (centre) said Iran’s  breaches of the deal were “reversible if other parties fulfil their commitments. Photograph: EPA

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo calls on all nations to reject ‘nuclear extortion’

Pierre Krahenbuhl, who resigned as commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency on Wednesday. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Krahenbuhl’s departure from Unrwa over accusations of mismanagement comes at precarious time

Mourners carry the casket of an Iraqi protester at his funeral in the central Iraqi city of Najaf on November 5th, 2019. Photograph: Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Violence grows as mass movement targets corruption and US-backed Shia government

Demonstrators take part in anti-government protests in Najaf, Iraq, on October 31st, 2019. Photograph: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters

Mainly peaceful rallies in Lebanon contrast with violence and fatalities in Iraq

Anti-government protesters wave the flag of Lebanon as they gather in Martyr’s Square in Beirut on Tuesday night. Photograph: Diego Ibarra Sanchez/New York Times

Revolutionaries calling for non-sectarian, neutral PM in country plagued by corruption

A file image from 2014 allegedly showing the leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who Donald Trump said on Sunday had died in a raid by US special forces. Photograph: AFP

Analysis: Claim he was killed in Idlib province near Turkish border puzzles regional experts

Female protesters stand in  line before Lebanese  soldiers during  the seventh day of protests in cities and towns across the country. Photograph:  Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images

Daily demonstrations have swollen over the past week, with a quarter of the Lebanese population participating

Protesters in front of Lebanese soldiers as they block a road east of Beirut. Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA

Protesters determined to carry on for as long as it takes to force corrupt ministers to resign

Lebanese woman with a national flag painted on her face taking part in a rally in Beirut on October 20th on the fourth day of demonstrations against tax increases and corruption. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP

Demonstrations against mismanagement and corruption prompt action from Hariri

The President, Michael D Higgins, at the Unifil Irish Battalion headquarters in Tiri in southern Lebanon on October 18th. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Michael D Higgins proposes matching migrants to countries that need their skills

Protesters wave Lebanese flags and shout anti-government slogans  in front of the  government palace in  Beirut, Lebanon. Photograph: EPA/Nabil Mounzer

‘I am here for the future of my children. We must not be scared. There must be no fighting, no shooting. We need to live in peace’

 Protesters carry Lebanese flags and chant slogans in front the government palace during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon on Friday. Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Tax on social media platform last straw for disgruntled protesters

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina visit southern Lebanon, where he met  Irish troops serving in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Photograph: Maxwell’s

Michael D Higgins meets UN peacekeepers policing Lebanese-Israeli border

 President Higgins meeting parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut. Photograph: Maxwell’s

Shared history unites Irish and Lebanese people, says Irish President in Beirut

President Michael D Higgins  visit the Cipriot village of Lefkara, famous for  its lace and silver handicrafts.   Photograph: Maxwell

Cypriot house speaker says ‘we pray against a no-deal Brexit’ during president's visit

President Michael D Higgins visits the Cyprus Committee on Missing Persons and its laboratory, to learn about the role played by the committee in recovering and identifying the remains of the missing in Cyprus. The forensic scientists take a systematic approach towards each set of tragic browned or bleached bones. Photograph: Maxwells

So far 955 remains of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have been identified

President Michael D Higgins lays a wreath  at the presidential palace. Photograph: Maxwell’s

President Michael D Higgins reaffirms historic friendship between Ireland and Cyprus

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Bloomberg

Nicos Anastasiades says Cyprus will stand up for peace in Ireland and the backstop

Kurdish protesters in front of the United Nations Building in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday, demonstrating against the ongoing Turkish military operation in Northern Syria against Kurdish forces. Photograph: Wael Hamzeh/EPA

US backing made the Kurds in Syria overconfident. They are set to pay a high price

 Kurdish people hold placards reading in Arabic ‘No to the Turkish occupation’ during a protest against the Turkish offensive, in Amuda town, Al-Hasakah governorate, northeastern Syria. Photograph: EPA

Disapproval of incursion echoes across Arab nations over ‘violation’ of international law

 Turkey-backed members of the Syrian National Army preparing for a military operation into Kurdish areas of northern Syria on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA

Russian pursuit of a political solution was doomed, and it now warns of deep instability

 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US president Donald Trump  at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in June. Photograph: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Iraq and Pakistan have offered to mediate talks between regional adversaries Iran and Saudi Arabia

A members of the Kurdish Internal Security Police Force of Asayesh stands guard as Syrian Kurds demonstrate against Turkish threats to launch a military operation on their region, in the town of Al-Qahtaniyah on Monday, Photograph:  Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

Trump’s decision to allow Turkey invade Kurdish-held territory will unsettle region

An Injured protester walks towards Tahrir Square to join anti-government protesters in central Baghdad, Iraq. Photograph: Hadi Mizban/AP

Demonstrators condemn corruption and demand regime change

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2014. He entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul one year ago, never to leave. Photograph: Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images

Saudis never expected horror story of murder would be broadcast around the world

Shia Houthi tribesmen show support for the Houthi movement in Sanaa, Yemen, earlier in September. Photograph: Hani Mohammed/AP

Ceasefire sought as Yemeni fighters claim defeat of Saudi forces in strategic battle

Supporters of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at a rally in Cairo on Friday. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi

Demonstrations against army corruption in Egypt result in claims of 2,000 arrests

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, speaks during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.  Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Russia expresses its opposition to the proposal and US and Iran could follow suit

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani leaving Tehran to attend the UN General Assembly summit in New York on Monday. Handout photograph: EPA

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to propose security plan to end tensions in Gulf

Benny Gantz, leader and candidate of the Israel Resilience party that is part of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, shakes hands with supporters in Tel Aviv. Photograph:  Gali Tibbon/AFP

Despite Benny Gantz’s essential similarity, many deem Netanyahu far more dangerous

Shows smoke billowing from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, about 60km southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, at the weekend. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have the motive and necessary skills to strike Aramco oil facilities

Syrians visit the pavilions at the Damascus International Fair in Damascus. Photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA

Damascus International Fair’s success masks issues with rebuilding the Syrian economy

Jamal Khashoggi: He was told to send a text message to his son saying he was in Istanbul: “Don’t worry if you cannot reach me.” Photograph: Hasan Jamali/AP

Text of recordings of dissident’s killing in consulate published in Turkish newspaper

Amineh Bou Aish (67), grandmother, farmer and head of household, in her home in Zabadani, Syria. Photograph: Michael Jansen

Mixed Muslim-Christian resorts of Zabadani and Bloudan look to the future

Damaged buildings in the Khan Sheikhoun city area of Idlib’s southern countryside. Photograph: Syrian Arab News Agency

At least 500 killed, 400,000 displaced so far in northwest Syria campaign against jihadis

Injured Syrian army members receive honours during the opening of the Damascus International Fair. File photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA

Despite US threat of sanctions, international firms from 30 countries exhibit at the event

 Yemenis sit in front of historic buildings in the old city of Sana’a. Aid delivery to starving Yemenis has improved, but the UN is struggling to secure funds for its programmes. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Martin Griffiths claims chaos in region could enable re-emergence of extremist groups

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas: In February, Israel decided to confiscate €138 million in Palestinian Authority tax revenues paid annually to families. Photograph: EPA/STR

Cost-cutting move due to Palestinian tariff losses in Israel deemed mainly symbolic

Smoke billows above buildings during a reported air strike by pro-regime forces on the town of Hish in Syria’s Idlib province on August 19th, 2019. Photograph: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Three killed as Moscow and Damascus claim vehicles en route to aid jihadis and rebels

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam meets   Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  in Tehran.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in talks with Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam

Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul accused the authorities of holding them in solitary confinement, sexual assault and administering beatings and electric shocks. Photograph: Reuters

Loujain al-Hathloul rejected freedom in return for recording statement, says brother

Firefighters extinguish a fire following clashes between pro-government forces and separatists in the Mansoura district of  Aden, Yemen on Sunday. Photograph: Nabil Hasan/AFP/Getty Images

Seizure of Aden by separatists deepens divisions between chief regional partners

Deputy special adviser to the UN secretary general on Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and  Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades. Photograph: Cypriot Press Office

Amid tensions over gas drilling, Greek and Turkish sides agree to September UN talks

 Kurdish YPG militiamen taking part in a military parade in Qamishli, Syria, on March 28th. Turkey insists the YPG is a threat as it is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Photograph: Rodi Said/Reuters

Buffer zone to separate Turkish and US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria

 An Iranian Revolutionary Guard jet boat sails around a seized tanker in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, last month. Photograph: Hasan Shirvani/EPA

Analysis: UAE has maintained relations with Iran despite Saudi hostility to Tehran

 Huda al-Badri (30) poses behind the steering wheel of a car after Saudi Arabia eased its restrictions on women drivers in 2018. Photograph: Ahmed Yosri/EPA

Reforms will heap pressure on crown prince to release jailed female human rights activists

 A screen grab from an undated video made available by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of Hamza bin Laden, the son of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Photograph:  EPA/CIA handout

Reported death of Osama bin Laden’s son will be a brief PR boost for the US

Palestinian men pile bags of flour outside an aid distribution centre run by Unrwa in the central Gaza Strip refugee camp of Bureij, on Wednesday. Photograph: Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Unwra provides essential aid and services for more than five million refugees

Helga Schmid (front left) of the European Union External Action Service with Abbas Araghchi (front right), political deputy at the ministry of foreign affairs of Iran, at the Palais Coburg in Vienna. Photograph: Alex Halada

Tensions high in wake of US sanctions and seizures of oil tankers

Decaying hotel buildings stand beyond a makeshift barrier in Varosha, Famagusta. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Cypriot government says Varosha proposal violates UN Security Council resolutions

US president Donald Trump (right) meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC in March 2018. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty/File

More than 500 US soldiers, airmen returning to base at invitation of King Salman

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif:  says the Royal Marine’s seizure of Grace 1 is “piracy”.  Photograph: Manaure Quintero/Reuters

Show of strength in taking tanker comes with Tehran willingness to ratify protocol

 The US government has imposed sanctions on three top Hizbullah leaders over reported connection with Iran’s revolutionary guards. Photograph: EPA/Nabil Mounzer

Analysis: Washington’s goal is to shrink Iranian oil exports to zero and to isolate and deny Iran access to international trade

Turkish drilling ship Yavuz: set to start work off the  coast of Cyprus within the country’s exclusive economic zone, in violation of international law. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP

Illegal oil and gas explorations continue as Ankara pays little heed to threat of sanctions

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence (White Helmets) and civilians carry away the  wounded following a reported regime air strike on the town of Ariha, in the southern outskirts of Syria’s Idlib province. Photograph: Getty

Restive state faces prospect of being fractured into fiefdoms ruled by jihadi warlords

Turkish ship Yavuz anchored off Cyprus’s east coast in preparation for drilling. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

Erdogan vows to protect Turkish Cypriot rights and to continue drilling

 Emirati forces – trained recruits of the Yemeni army – perform combat training in Yemen in 2017. Photograph: Najeeb Almahboobi/EPA

Emirati troops to leave Hodeidah port amid disagreement with Saudis over devastating war

Women and children who had fled Islamic State’s last areas of control at a camp in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. Photograph: Ivor Prickett/New York Times

Human Rights Watch calls on Baghdad to ensure humane treatment of detainees

Syrian refugees remove a corrugated metal as they dismantle their shelters at the Lebanese border town of Arsal. Photograph: Reuters/Hassan Abdallah

Economic crises in all three countries, plus chronic shortfalls in donor funding, are fuelling resentment among citizens with incr(...)

Drilling vessel Yavuz: set to arrive off the eastern coast of Cyprus to drill for gas. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis

Ankara project conducted over ‘median line’ could bring fines and imprisonment

Amphorae at the shipwreck site off the coast of Protaras, Cyprus, on Wednesday. Photograph: Spyros Spyrou/via Reuters

Wooden merchant ship found near Protaras transported cargo between Syria and Turkey

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a meeting with Iranian judiciary officials in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday. Photograph: Iran government handout/EPA

US sanctions inflaming tensions without punishing those responsible, say experts

Confiscated tusks are held at a forensics laboratory of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Ashland, Oregon. Photograph: Galen Rowell/Corbis via Getty Images

Oregon Letter: From Russian mob caviar to ivory, pelts, skins, shells, bones and feather

 Israeli police  take up position in the village of Halhoul in the West Bank following  clashes with Palestinians protesting  against the  US economic conference. Photograph:  Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA

Palestinians boycotting event, while Israelis not invited

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades: has expressed “utmost satisfaction”with the EU’s  supportive stance. Photograph: Julian Warnand

European Council poised to deter Ankara from ‘unlawful act’ in territorial waters

A girl holds a photograph of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during a symbolic funeral ceremony on June 18th at Fatih mosque in Istanbul. Thousands joined in prayer in the Turkish capital for Morsi, who died after collapsing in a Cairo court. Photograph: Getty Images

Former president reportedly deprived of medication and treatment for medical conditions

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the ultimate arbiter in Iran’s system of governance. Photograph: Official Khamenei website/Handout via Reurters

Statement comes in response to calls from US president for talks on new nuclear deal

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh in  October 2018. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

Riyadh extends invitation to Qatar after two years of tension for talks on oil tanker assault

A Palestinian loads a cart with aid food provided by the UN’s World Food Programme and its agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, in the Gaza Strip’s al-Shati refugee camp. Photograph: Mohammed Abed

Trump envoy says Unrwa a ‘bandaid’ and seeks shift to humanitarian bodies and hosts

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