Jean-Pierre Filiu disagrees with Barack Obama’s refusal to intervene in Syria because the US did not know who would replace Assad. Photograph: James Leynse

In late 1400 and early 1401, the Mongol conqueror Tamerlane left “pyramids of skulls, like those constructed by Islamic State today” across Syria, rec(...)

 A dinghy overcrowded with Syrian migrants approaches a beach on the Greek island of Kos this week after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from Turkey to Greece. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

The appalling realities of mass migration from Syria’s civil war have been highlighted in images from Kos, where thousands of refugees are now arrivin(...)

Turkish Kurds on the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, watch smoke rise following an air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani, where fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish forces intensified yesterday. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo

In a potent symbol of the West’s inability to halt the advance of Islamic State (IS), the extremist Sunni Muslims have raised their black flag over pa(...)

Gaza City’s harbour. Yasser Arafat included a deep-water commercial seaport for the fledgling Palestinian state in the 1993 Oslo accords. Photograph:  Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

In Greek and Roman times, Gaza thrived on shipbuilding, fishing and commerce, all centred on the port at Anthedon in northern Gaza. The strip of land (...)

A couple stand in front of the Jewish Museum  in Brussels where four people were shot. “The danger of a European 9/11 is more real than ever,” Jean-Pierre Filiu, a Syria expert and professor at Sciences Po told “Libération” newspaper. Photograph: Reuters

The arrest of Mehdi Nemmouche (29), a French Muslim suspected of having murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on May 24th, has heighte(...)