Sarah El Deeb, The Associated Press

  • This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)
    Soleimani mourned as pressure mounts to kick US troops out of Iraq

    Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, was killed in an airstrike early Friday near the Iraqi capital's international airport. The attack has caused regional tensions to soar.

  • Crewmen enter Bradley fighting vehicles at a U.S. military base at an undisclosed location in northeastern Syria, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Darko Bandic/AP)
    American troops at Syria base say they’ll keep pressure on ISIS

    At a base in eastern Syria, a senior U.S. coalition commander said Monday that American troops who remain in Syria are redeploying to bases, including in some new locations, and working with the Kurdish-led forces to keep up the pressure on the Islamic State militants and prevent the extremists from resurging or breaking out of prisons.

  • In this Oct. 28, 2019, file photo, U.S. forces patrol Syrian oil fields in eastern Syria. (Baderkhan Ahmad/AP)
    For east Syria, American troops are about much more than oil

    As U.S. troops beef up in eastern Syria to protect oil fields, residents hope their mission will bring stability and prosperity to the remote and resource-rich region — and keep the Syrian government out.

  • In this Oct. 27, 2019, file photo, people look at a destroyed houses near the village of Barisha, in Idlib province, Syria, after an operation by the U.S. military which targeted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group. (Ghaith Alsayed/AP)
    In last days, al-Baghdadi sought safety in shrinking domain

    Associates paint a picture of a man obsessed with his security and well-being and trying to find safety in towns and deserts in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border as the extremists' domains crumbled.

  • This file image made from video posted on a militant website April 29, 2019, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, being interviewed by his group's Al-Furqan media outlet. (Al-Furqan media via AP, File)
    Turkey says it captured al-Baghdadi’s sister in Syria

    Turkey captured the elder sister of the slain leader of the Islamic State group in northwestern Syria on Monday, according to a senior Turkish official, who called the arrest an intelligence “gold mine.”

  • President Donald Trump, left, followed by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, leaves the podium after speaking about the ceasefire in Syria with Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
    After American troop withdrawal, Trump shifts focus to Syria oil fields

    As Russian and Turkish leaders divvy up security roles in northeast Syria following an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal, President Donald Trump is focused on oil fields elsewhere in the war-torn country.

  • Mourners attend a funeral for Kurdish political leader Hevrin Khalaf and others, including civilians and Kurdish fighters, in the northeastern Syrian Kurdish town of Derik on Oct. 13, 2019. (Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images)
    Fearing American abandonment, Kurds kept back channels to Damascus, Moscow wide open

    When Syria’s Kurdish fighters, America’s longtime battlefield allies against the Islamic State, announced over the weekend that they were switching sides and joining up with Damascus and Moscow, it seemed like a moment of geopolitical whiplash.

  • Turkish-backed forces from the Free Syrian Army stand in formation Oct. 7, 2019, during military maneuvers in preparation for a Turkish incursion targeting Syrian Kurdish fighters, near Azaz town, north Syria. (AP)
    Money, hatred for the Kurds drives Turkey’s Syrian fighters

    The Syrian fighters vowed to kill "pigs" and "infidels," paraded their Kurdish captives in front of cameras and, in one graphic video, fired several rounds into a man lying on the side of a highway with his hands bound behind his back.