Middle East

Harsh recruitment measures

DAMAGE DONE: A damaged car in Raqqa, Syria.

Intense efforts from Syrian regime to boost military numbers after substantial losses.

IS executes 2000 people

MANY VICTIMS: Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade in northern Raqqa province in June.

Militant group kills 120 of its own members trying to go home and 1878 civilians in six months.

NATO lowers flag in Afghanistan

CHANGE OF MISSION: US General John Campbell, centre, folds the flag during the ceremony in Kabul.

US-led coalition's new, smaller mission - Resolute Support - comes at a tense time for Afghanistan.

Photo-journalist covers Syrian struggle

Photo-journalist
Roman
Kutzowitz is
having a break
from war-torn
Syria by visiting
family in
Blenheim.

Marlborough Boys' College old boy Roman Kutzowitz went to work in October wearing a bullet-proof vest and helmet.

Iraq's new crisis

SELF-HELP: Ammar Abdullah Younes removes shrapnel from his legs using a razor blade and tweezers inside his tent in the Bakhira refugee camp in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region. Younes was badly inured after an IED was placed under his car in Mosul.

He worked closely with US forces in Iraq. Now he sits in a tent using a scalpel to gouge shrapnel out of his mangled legs.

Top intelligence official kidnapped

Shiite volunteers parade in a street in Kanaan, Iraq.

Yemeni security officials say suspected Shi'ite rebels have kidnapped the country's second highest intelligence official.

Pope's surprise phone call

Pope Frances celebrates Christmas Eve mass at St Peter's in the Vatican.

He was due to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass for thousands of worshippers. But first, Pope Francis wanted to deliver a personal message.

War damages heritage sites

War in Syria damages 290 heritage sites: UN

Cultural heritage sites in Syria stretching back to the dawn of civilisation have been damaged by its ongoing civil war.

Cheers as IS mountain siege broken gallery video

Life on Mount Sinjar.

Children cheered and the Iraqi Kurdish flag fluttered as minority Yazidis trapped by the Islamic State on a mountain see the end of their siege.

Texas plumber's truck in jihad

Texan Mark Oberholtzer's old work truck ... Jihadists from Ansar al-Deen Front fight Syrian goverment forces near Aleppo, Syria.

A Texas plumber has no idea how his old work truck ended up in the hands of Islamists in Syria.

Aus drops 100 bombs in Iraq

A RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet receives fuel from a RAAF tanker in the skies over Iraq.

Australian combat aircraft operating over Iraq have dropped more than 100 bombs, each striking an Islamic State target.

Air strikes kill IS group leaders

Islamic State

US defence official says several Islamic State group leaders have been killed in air strikes in northern Iraq.

Pakistan to pursue militants

FACES OF THE VICTIMS: Some of the scores killed in the attack on the army-run school in Pakistan.

Pakistan's prime minister says his government "will not rest until every terrorist is killed".

A trail of carnage after massacre video

GRIM SCENE: A Pakistani Army soldier walks through a in a blood-covered area a day after a Taliban massacre.

Scattered shoes, broken eyeglasses and trails of blood mark the scene where 148 students and teachers were killed.

Taliban kill over 140 gallery video

HORROR SCENE: An injured student is carried after receiving treatment following a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Taliban gunmen took more than 100 lives.

Taliban gunmen storm a Pakistan military-run school, killing at least 141 people, mostly children.

180 soldiers, jihadists killed

Nusra Front supporters take part in a protest in Syria:

Around 100 Syrian soldiers and 80 Islamist fighters killed during a two-day battle near Wadi al-Deif military base.

7 pictures of lost innocence

x

Some have lost loved ones. Others have lost their homes. All have lost their innocence.

Islamic State's guide to sex slavery

CAPTOR'S GUIDE: The Islamic State's rules on sex slavery say non-Muslim female captives are "merely property, which can be disposed of".

Islamic State releases pamphlet detailing guidelines for treating non-Muslim female slaves in the militant group's custody.

Dozens killed in Afghanistan

An Afghan soldier at the scene of the suicide attack, the second targeting Afghan forces in the capital in the last week.

The Afghan Taliban have killed a Supreme Court official, a dozen mine clearers and several national and foreign soldiers.

On the frontline with IS gallery

A soldier watches for enemy activity from an outpost near Kirkuk, Iraq.

Kiwi photographer captures the reality of life for some in wartorn Iraq.

Politician dies after altercation video

ALTERCATION: Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein (centre) argues with Israeli border policemen during a protest near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinian minister dies shortly after being grabbed by the neck by an Israeli border police in the West Bank.

IS militants kill 12 Shi'ites

Islamic State militants in Iraq.

A suicide bomb and mortar attack by Islamic State militants kills 12 Shi'ite militia fighters north of Baghdad.

Afghanistan's own Bruce Lee gallery

KUNG FU FIGHTING: Abbas Alizada, who calls himself the Afghan Bruce Lee, in front of posters if his hero in Kabul.

Afghanistan's self-styled Bruce Lee is using kung fu to teach the world.

'We didn't know about hostage'

Yolande Korkie, the wife of Pierre Korkie, says the death of her husband in a US raid shortly before he was to be released is heartbreaking, but she is choosing to rejoice in his memories.

When the US launched a raid in Yemen that led to the deaths of two hostages, it didn't know one was on the verge of being released.

US allies sending troops

A fighter from Iraqi Kurdish forces launches a mortar towards Zummar in northern Nineveh province during the successful offensive to take the town in September.

US commander reveals allies have committed to send about 1500 forces to Iraq to help advise and train Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers battling the Islamic State.

Hostage's family blasts rescue bid

Luke Somers in a video purportedly published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula earlier this month.

The family of a British-born hostage killed by Islamic militants says he might still be alive had it not been for an attempted US rescue mission.

70 Ethiopian migrants drown

DRAMA AT SEA: Team Vestas, run aground and abandoned.

Seventy Ethiopian migrants have drowned after their boat sank off the coast of Yemen.

Iran meth use soars

crack pipe

There is a new epidemic in Iran and it's one affecting 345,000 people.

Israel drops bombs on Syria

aircraft

Israeli warplanes have bombed Syrian government targets, underscoring the deepening complexity of the war.

Israel to investigate Gaza deaths

HARD LIFE: Boys watch from a damaged house as young Palestinians from Hamas's "popular army" take part in a military graduation ceremony in a refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military will look into looting, the deaths of Palestinian civilians, and other suspected violations of international law.

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