Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2015. Photograph: Reuters

The fall of eastern Aleppo to the Syrian army and its allies is a turning point in the protracted civil war, and the wider proxy war. Regime loyalis(...)

Syrians fleeing the battle for control of Aleppo walk towards the Turkish border at the Bab al-Salam border gate, on February 5th. The districts held by anti-governmetn forces  in Aleppo are a prize they dare not lose. Photograph: Depo Photos via AP

When the battle for Syria’s largest city and commercial hub, Aleppo, began in July 2012, the provincial governor appealed for troops to counter rebel (...)

Iraq’s prime minister Haider al-Abadi. Mr Al-Abadi’s rivals have enjoyed another setback for the prime minister after his failure to retake Anbar province from Islamic State. Photograph: Zach Gibson/The New York Times

The campaign to retake Anbar province from Islamic State was supposed to be Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi’s show. The script went like this: US(...)

A member of the Iraqi security forces stands inside a damaged house in the southern entrance of the city of Tikrit on Sunday. Photograph:  Ahmad al-Rubaye/Getty Images

The decision by Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi to request US air strikes against Islamic State (IS) fighters entrenched at the heart of the stra(...)

Members of the Iraqi security forces and Shia fighters celebrate after taking control of the town of Hamrin from Islamic State militants, on Tuesday. Two of the Shia militias most feared by Sunnis are taking part in the ongoing offensive to take Tikrit. Photograph:Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Iraq’s offensive against Islamic State fighters holding the strategic city of Tikrit is a test for the Iraqi army, allied Shia militias, the Shia fund(...)

Iraqi security forces and Shia fighters on a tank in the Salahuddin province on Monday. Iraq’s armed forces, backed by Shia militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad  as they launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin. Photograph: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shia militiamen sought to seal off Islamic State fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns on Tuesday, the second day of Ir(...)

People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad yesterday. The latest attacks follow a series of dramatic advances in Iraq by Islamic State fighters. Photograph: Reuters

Mursitpinar and Islamic State militants have targeted Baghdad with a wave of devastating car bombs and mortar attacks, killing at least 150 people si(...)