Syria war: Assault on IS-held Raqqa in ‘final stages’

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Syrian Democratic Forces fighters took full control of Raqqa’s Old City earlier this month A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters says it has driven Islamic State (IS) militants out of 80% of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that its three-month-old assault […]

Saudi Arabia to lift ban on internet calls

Image copyright AFP Image caption The Saudi authorities said they had blocked VoIP apps in 2013 in order to “protect society” Saudi Arabia is lifting a ban on voice and video calling apps such as WhatsApp and Skype, in a move aimed at boosting productivity and economic growth. The ministry of communications said access to […]

Iraqi forces ‘attack last IS bastion on Syria border’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Iraqi forces announced they had recaptured the town of Akashat, south-west of Ana, last week Iraqi forces are reported to have launched an operation to recapture the last stronghold of so-called Islamic State in the country’s western desert. A military source told the BBC that soldiers, Anbar provincial police and […]

Iraqi Kurdish referendum must be suspended – Iraqi PM

Image copyright EPA Image caption Marches in support of the vote took place in Irbil last week Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has formally demanded the suspension of next week’s referendum on Kurdish independence. The Supreme Court also ordered that the poll must be postponed until questions over its legality have been addressed. Despite global […]

Hamas says it is ready to hold first elections since 2006

Image copyright AFP Image caption Hamas praised mediation efforts by Egypt The Palestinian militant group Hamas says it is ready to dissolve the committee that rules Gaza and hold a general election for the first time since 2006. It also said it was aiming for more talks with rivals Fatah as it aims to end […]

Kurdish MPs say yes to independence referendum

Image copyright AFP Image caption The vote has left Iraq’s neighbours nervous The Iraqi Kurdish parliament has voted to back an independence referendum in the face of opposition from across the globe. The Kurdistan Regional Government, sitting for the first time in two years, backed the 25 September vote on Friday. Iraq’s central government rejected […]

Syria war: Turkey, Russia, Iran agree Idlib ‘ceasefire’ zone

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Idlib has long been a stronghold of rebels and jihadist groups Powers backing rival sides in the Syrian war have agreed on the latest in a series of so-called “de-escalation zones”, aimed at calming fighting. Turkey, which opposes the Syrian government, and Syria’s allies Russia and Iran reached a deal […]

Trump: Iran breaking spirit of nuclear deal

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Donald Trump at the White House, after a visit to hurricane-hit Florida US president Donald Trump has said Iran is keeping to the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal “atrociously”. The deal – between Iran, the US, and other world powers, including China and Russia – was designed to […]

Iraq: At least 60 die in twin attacks near Nasiriya

Image copyright Image caption The attack has been claimed by so-called Islamic State At least 60 people have been killed in two attacks in southern Iraq, police and health officials say. A suicide bomber detonated a vest and gunmen opened fire inside a restaurant near Nasiriya, capital of Dhiqar province, security sources said. Soon […]

Iraq MPs vote to sack Kirkuk governor over Kurdish referendum

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Najm al-Din Karim promised to ignore the parliamentary vote and stay in office The Iraqi parliament has voted to sack the governor of Kirkuk province amid rising tension ahead of a planned referendum on Kurdish independence. The Arab-led central government in Baghdad strongly opposes efforts by the autonomous Kurdistan Region […]