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A Free Syrian Army fighter rides a motorbike along a damaged street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, Syria, yesterday. Photograph: Karam Jamal/Reuters

The escape of dozens of high-level al-Qaeda members from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last Sunday may have far-reaching consequences in next-door Syria, (...)

Not a day goes by without a report of killings, rape, sexual assault and displacement of people in eastern DRC, says UN special envoy Mary Robinson

SIMON CARSWELLMary Robinson, the United Nations special envoy for Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region, said there are “credible reports” that countri(...)

A man points towards a burning car, caused by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus. Photograph: Bassam Khabieh/Reuters.

A car bomb killed at least seven people and wounded 62 when it exploded on the edge of the Syrian capital Damascus today, state media reported.State (...)

A chance for peace

‘Establishing facts on the ground” has been a cardinal feature of Israeli policy towards the territories it captured in the 1967 war against Egypt, Sy(...)

A Palestinian artist painting a mural in Gaza City in support of Palestinian prisoners  in Israeli jails. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Israel has agreed to release Palestinian prisoners in order to resume peace talks, but will not yield to other demands the Palestinians say must be me(...)

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah near the site of an explosion in Beirut earlier this month. Photograph: Reuters/Khalil Hassan

Lebanon has asked the EU not to add Hizbullah to its blacklist of terrorist organisations, arguing that the movement is an “essential component” of Le(...)

Australia will refuse entry to asylum seekers who arrive by boat and send them to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, in a pre-election policy prime minist(...)

Well-wishers light candles yesterday in front of former South African president Nelson Mandela’s home in Houghton, Johannesburg. Photograph: Reuters/Mujahid Safodien

The condition of Nelson Mandela, who has spent more than 40 days in hospital receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection, is “steadily improvin(...)

Schoolchildren sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to former South African president Nelson Mandela at Phefeni High School, opposite Mr Mandela’s former home in Soweto Township Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela is “steadily improving”, South Africa’s government claimed today as the former president spent his 95th birthday (...)

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon praised Panama yesterday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. Photograph: Carlos Jasso/Reuters

North Korea broke four days of silence early today over a rusty North Korean freighter impounded by Panama for concealing a load of Cuban weapons, ins(...)

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