Syrian Turkmens protest at Russian military intervention: their identity is closer to Ottoman Turkey than Syria’s official Arabism. Photograph: Basin Foto Ajansi/Lightrocket/ Getty Images

When Russian warplanes began bombing rebel-controlled villages in northwest Syria late last year reverberations were heard all the way to Ankara. In(...)

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and US secretary of state John Kerry  in Munich. Photograph: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

The Munich agreement reached early on Friday by 17 countries belonging to the Syria support group specified that immediate humanitarian access is to b(...)

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was told to ‘step aside’ by US president Barack Obama in 2011. Photograph: EPA

The Syrian crisis might have been resolved in 2011 if US president Barack Obama had not declared on August 18th that year that his Syrian counterpart (...)

UN special envoy  Staffan de Mistura  announcing at a press conference in Geneva on Monday that Syrian peace talks are to begin on Friday. Photograph:  Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups aimed at ending the country’s near five-year-old ci vil war are to begin on Friday, UN speci(...)

UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura (left) and Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian arrive for a meeting in Tehran. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has wound up a regional tour with assurances from both Iran and Saudi Arabia that regional tensions will not affect their(...)

Christmas holiday lights hang from trees in the ancient quarter of Bab al-Sharqi in Damascus. Photograph: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

Beleaguered Syrian Christians, who belong to the world’s most ancient Christian communities, are set to celebrate a fifth Christmas during a war that (...)

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad during an interview with  Sunday Times journalist Hala Jaber in Damascus on December 2nd. Photograph: EPA/Syrian Arab News Agency

Syrian political and armed opposition figures are set to gather on Tuesday in the Saudi capital Riyadh in an effort to form a united front ahead of ne(...)

An RAF Typhoon plane flies above  southern Cyprus on Thursday. Photograph: Darren Staples

Britain’s entry into the air war in Syria against Islamic State is unlikely to drive the militarised cult from its capital at Raqqa city, the country(...)

 Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. Western powers want his removal from office as part of a Syrian peace deal. Photograph: EPA/Syrian Arab News Agency

“Assad must go,” is the constant refrain from US president Barack Obama, French president François Hollande, British prime minister David Cameron and (...)

Delicate diplomacy: John Kerry with foreign ministers from Russia, Sergei Lavrov; Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir; and Turkey, Feridun Sinirlioglu. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/Reuters

The second round of talks on the Syrian crisis taking place in Vienna could be more positive than the initial October 30th session because the politic(...)

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