Demonstrators shout slogans in support of reforms introduced by Iraq’s prime minister Haider al-Abadi. Photograph: Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously yesterday for the biggest shakeup in its governing system since the US military occupation, eliminating entire la(...)

Children queue for water in the northwestern Syrian city of Ariha, in Idlib province, on Tuesday, after a coalition of insurgent groups seized the area. Syria has seen an increased flow of weapons and funds and an influx of fighters to insurgent and jihadi groups. Photogaph:  Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

In early March, the Syrian regime was on the offensive and had retaken territory lost to insurgents. Reasonable prospects existed for dialogue between(...)

Displaced Sunni people fleeing the violence in Ramadi on the outskirts of Baghdad. Iraqi forces recaptured territory from advancing IS militants near the recently-fallen city of Ramadi on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer

Rival powers and allies have traded barbs and accusations over the recent successes of Islamic State, a week after the militant group seized Ramadi (...)

Syrian soldiers at the Temple of Bel, an ancient stone ruin, in Palmyra before it fell to Islamic State. Syrian state television reported tonight that Islamic State, which has  destroyed antiquities and ancient monuments in Iraq, was trying to enter the city’s historical sites. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times

Islamic State militants stormed the Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, seizing it from government forces in fierce fighting as civilians were evacua(...)

An Iraqi fighter from the Shia Muslim Al-Abbas popular mobilisation unit in  the embattled Anbar province. Photograph: Mohammed Sawaf/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi security forces deployed tanks and artillery around Ramadi yesterday to confront Islamic State fighters who have captured the city in a major(...)

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(...)

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(...)

 Members of the coalition against IS meet in London to discuss the threat posed by Islamic State. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The US-led coalition against Islamic State could take up to two years to expel the group from Iraq, while Baghdad’s own forces will be incapable of pr(...)

President Barack Obama meets with Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Photograph:  Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President Barack Obama laid out a forceful new blueprint yesterday for deeper US engagement in the Middle East, telling the UN General Assembly the Is(...)

Gen Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, described the current phase of operations against Islamic State as “extraordinarily complex”. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The US air campaign to thwart the advance of fighters from the Islamic State has been the easy part of President Barack Obama’s strategy in Iraq an(...)

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