Iraq

Iraqi security forces stand guard as residents from the city of Ramadi, who fled their homes as Islamic State (IS) group militants tightened their siege on the last government positions in the capital of Anbar province, wait to cross Bzeibez bridge, on the southwestern frontier of Baghdad, on May 20, 2015. Taking control of Ramadi would constitute the group's most important victory this year in Iraq, and would give the jihadists control of the capitals of two of its largest provinces

Sabah Arar/AFP

Iraqi security forces stand guard as residents from the city of Ramadi, who fled their homes as Islamic State (IS) group militants tightened their siege on the last government positions in the capital of Anbar province, wait to cross Bzeibez bridge, on the southwestern frontier of Baghdad, on Wednesday

Iraqi soldiers fire towards Islamic State (IS) group positions in the Garma district of Anbar province west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on Tuesday. Iraq's army and allied paramilitary forces massed around Anbar's provincial capital Ramadi, looking for swift action to recapture the city from the Islamic State group before it builds up defences

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi soldiers fire towards Islamic State (IS) group positions in the Garma district of Anbar province west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on Tuesday. Iraq’s army and allied paramilitary forces massed around Anbar’s provincial capital Ramadi, looking for swift action to recapture the city from the Islamic State group before it builds up defences

Iraqi Shia Muslim worshippers carry a mock coffin outside the Imam al-Kadhim shrine as they gather to mark the anniversary of the death of the eighth century revered Imam on Thursday in the Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi Shia Muslim worshippers carry a mock coffin outside the Imam al-Kadhim shrine as they gather to mark the anniversary of the death of the eighth century revered Imam on Thursday in the Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad

Iraqi Shia Muslim worshippers mourn as they gather at the shrine of Imam Mussa al-Kadhim to mark the anniversary of the death of the eighth century revered Imam onWednesday in the northern district of Kadhimiya in the Iraqi capital Baghdad

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi Shia Muslim worshippers mourn as they gather at the shrine of Imam Mussa al-Kadhim to mark the anniversary of the death of the eighth century revered Imam on Wednesday in the northern district of Kadhimiya in the Iraqi capital Baghdad

An Iraqi Shiite fighter from the Popular Mobilisation units, part of the Zahraa Brigade, poses for a picture under a sign which reads in Arabic "Lions of Najaf" during a training exercise in the central Iraqi city of Kufa, some 160 kms south of Baghdad, on March 23, 2015.

Haidar Hamdani/AFP

An Iraqi Shia fighter from the Popular Mobilisation units, part of the Zahraa Brigade, poses for a picture under a sign which reads in Arabic “Lions of Najaf” during a training exercise in the central Iraqi city of Kufa, some 160 kms south of Baghdad, on Monday

A member of the Iraqi security forces stands between Islamic State ammunition being displayed in al-Alam Salahuddin province

Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

A member of the Iraqi security forces stands between captured ammunition of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant being displayed in al-Alam Salahuddin province, Iraq on Tuesday

Iraqi fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units take part in a military operation to take control of Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad,  from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11 2015.  The city, which is the home town of former president Saddam Hussein, is the toughest target for the government troops and allied militias that started winning back lost ground last year.

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units take part in a military operation to take control of Tikrit, 160km north of Baghdad, from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on Wednesday

A member of the Iraqi government forces sits in an armed military vehicle on the outskirts of the northern city of Tikrit as they prepare to launch a military operation to take control of the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters.

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

A member of the Iraqi government forces sits in an armed military vehicle on the outskirts of the northern city of Tikrit as they prepare to launch a military operation to take control of the city from Islamic State group fighters.

A combination photo shows children from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the Iraqi town of Sinjar due to violence by Islamic State militants, as they pose at their holy Lilash temple in northern Iraq September 20, 2014. Thousands of Yazidis have been shot, buried alive or sold into slavery by Islamic State militants, who regard them as devil-worshippers. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes in Iraq in August, citing the duty to prevent an impending genocide of Yazidis at the hands of Islamic State militants after they overran a vast swathe of northern Iraq. Simonovic said that Islamic State was forcing Yazidis to either convert to Islam or be killed with the intent of destroying the religious group. Islamic State originally attacked the area around Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq, in August. They advanced on Iraq's Sinjar mountain, tightening a siege of thousands of stranded Yazidis, who called on the United States and its allies to act to avert more bloodshed. Pictures taken September 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

A combination photo shows children from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the Iraqi town of Sinjar due to violence by Islamic State militants, as they pose at their holy Lilash temple in northern Iraq. Thousands of Yazidis have been shot, buried alive or sold into slavery by Islamic State militants, who regard them as devil-worshippers. U.S. President Barack Obama authorized air strikes in Iraq in August, citing the duty to prevent an impending genocide of Yazidis at the hands of Islamic State militants after they overran a vast swathe of northern Iraq. Simonovic said that Islamic State was forcing Yazidis to either convert to Islam or be killed with the intent of destroying the religious group. Islamic State originally attacked the area around Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq, in August. They advanced on Iraq’s Sinjar mountain, tightening a siege of thousands of stranded Yazidis, who called on the United States and its allies to act to avert more bloodshed. 

Troops of the Interior Ministry march in a parade during a ceremony marking Iraqi Police Day's 93rd anniversary at a police academy in Baghdad January 8, 2015.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

Troops of the Interior Ministry march in a parade during a ceremony marking Iraqi Police Day’s 93rd anniversary at a police academy in Baghdad on Thursday

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter in Kesarej village, south of Zumar, Nineveh province. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighter. The assault, backed by U.S. air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since Islamic State stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August.

Ari Jalal/Reuters

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter in Kesarej village, south of Zumar, Nineveh province. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq’s Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighter. The assault, backed by U.S. air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since Islamic State stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August

Displaced Iraqis, who were forced to flee their home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year, queue for humanitarian aid that is being distributed by the Barzani Charity Foundation after being delivered by lorries from the Polish charity SOS FOR LIFE at a refugee camp near Zakho in Duhok, Iraq

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Displaced Iraqis, who were forced to flee their home because of Islamic State’s advance earlier this year, queue for humanitarian aid that is being distributed by the Barzani Charity Foundation after being delivered by lorries from the Polish charity SOS FOR LIFE at a refugee camp near Zakho in Duhok, Iraq

A police officer stands guard as Shia pilgrims make their way to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shia ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad, December 10, 2014. Arbaeen falls 40 days after the holy day of Ashura.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

A police officer stands guard as Shia pilgrims head to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shia ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad on Wednesday. Arbaeen falls 40 days after the holy day of Ashura

 An Iraqi Christian, who fled from her home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year, hangs up washed clothes to dry besides a displaced persons camp near Umm al-Nour Church, which is now home to hundreds of displaced Iraqi Christians in Erbil, Iraq.  Although the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq was already a refuge for an estimated 250,000 Syrian refugees, since the Islamic State began its onslaught on Iraq in June, Kurdistan has also taken in a more than one and a half million displaced people. Many have been placed in purpose-built refugee camps but the huge numbers mean thousands of others are forced to live in un-finished buildings or inadequate, makeshift shelters and as winter in the region closes in, there are growing concerns for the welfare of the refugees who, while their homes are still in ISIL controlled territory, have no realistic prospect of returning to them.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

An Iraqi Christian, who fled from her home because of Islamic State’s advance earlier this year, hangs up washed clothes to dry besides a displaced persons’ camp near Umm al-Nour Church, which is now home to hundreds of displaced Iraqi Christians in Erbil, Iraq.

An Iraqi craftsman prepares to heat up metal at a workshop in a market in Baghdad on December 2, 2014. The International Monetary Fund said in its October World Economic Outlook that Iraq's gross domestic product is forecast to shrink by 2.7 percent this year, down from the 5.9 percent growth it forecast in April.

Ahmad Al-Rubate/AFP

An Iraqi craftsman prepares to heat up metal at a workshop in a market in Baghdad on Tuesday

Iraqi security forces march on the outskirts of Najaf, south of Baghdad November 19, 2014.

Alaa Al-Marjani /Reuters

Iraqi security forces march on the outskirts of Najaf, south of Baghdad on Wednesday

Iraqi Shiite Muslim worshipers self-flagellate during a ceremony marking Ashura, which commemorates the seventh century slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, in the mainly Shiite southern city of Basra on November 3, 2014.

Haidar Mohammed/AFP

Iraqi Shia Muslims self-flagellate in Basra during a ceremony to mark Ashura, which commemorates the seventh century slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed.

Boys inspect the site of double car bombings in the northern Shiite district al-Hurriyah in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. On Tuesday, officials say a wave of bombings targeted commercial areas across Iraq, killing and wounding dozens of people. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Karim Kadim/AP

Boys inspect the site of double car bombings in the northern Shia district al-Hurriyah in Baghdad, Iraq. On Tuesday, officials say a wave of bombings targeted commercial areas across the country, killing and wounding dozens of people 

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq...A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria, in this U.S. Air Force handout photo taken early in the morning of September 23, 2014. These aircraft were part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIL targets in Syria. At least 14 Islamic State fighters were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led forces overnight in northeast Syria, a group monitoring the war said on September 25, 2014, and the Syrian air force bombed rebel areas in the west of the country. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Handout  (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.

US Air Force/Reuters

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria, in this U.S. These aircraft were part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIS targets in Syria. At least 14 Islamic State fighters were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led forces overnight in northeast Syria, a group monitoring the war said on Thursday and the Syrian air force bombed rebel areas in the west of the country.

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants on the front line in Khazir, September 16, 2014.

Azad Lashkari/Reuters

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants on the front line in Khazir