Aleppo, Syria: A man carries a girl after an air strike, April 2016.

The Middle East is a region, not a continent. Most of it is in Asia, but it also includes parts of Africa (Egypt) and Europe (part of Turkey).

Beha el Halebi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Middle East

News Watch 2017

SYRIA

Jim McMahon/Mapman®

Since 2011, close to 500,000 people have been killed in the civil war pit­ting rebel groups against President Bashar al-Assad. Assad's family has maintained harsh control over the country for decades. About 4 million Syrians have fled to neigh­boring countries and to Europe. Another 7 million have lost their homes within Syria.

IRAN

Iran has turned over almost all of its stockpile of enriched uranium following a 2015 deal with the U.S. and five other nations. The deal was aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In return, the U.S., the United Nations, and the European Union lifted most of the economic sanctions that had crippled Iran’s economy. Critics fear that the deal won’t keep Iran from building a bomb.

Jim McMahon/Mapman®

ISIS 

The U.S.-led campaign to reclaim territory from the terrorist group ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is making progress. But the group still controls large swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq. ISIS has responded with a series of deadly terrorist attacks—including recent ones in France, Belgium, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Turkey.

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