Damage to mosques, a monastery, churches and historic tombs caused by fighting near the Syrian city of Aleppo, and the destruction of monuments by the so-called Islamic State in the ancient cities of Palmyra and Nimrud, are being documented in an online archival system and made available to conservation experts worldwide ... The system is being used...to monitor historic sites in Syria and northern Iraq, providing weekly updates and an online inventory of thousands of heritage sites.

Climate change may render parts of the Middle East -- now home to over 500 million people -- too hot for humans ... even if global temperature rise is capped at two degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era, “the temperature in summer in these regions will increase two times faster" than elsewhere in the world. That means by mid-century, during the hottest part of summer, “temperatures will not fall below 30 degrees at night, and during daytime they could rise to 46 degrees Celsius.”

for many Tunisians, the revolution has not delivered on its economic promises, with the young in particular complaining about a lack of jobs and high living costs. Three...attacks...last year have also hit the economy hard, especially the tourism industry which is a key source of revenue and employment. Unemployment stood at 15.3 percent in 2015, up from 12 percent in 2010, due to weak growth, lower investment and a rise in... university graduates who comprise one-third of jobless Tunisians

Eighteen mayors and nearly 50 locally elected representatives of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party are being prosecuted in Turkey ... The ... severity of the charges are unprecedented, says ... Emma Sinclair Webb of ... Human Rights Watch ... "the charges ... amount to life in prison for offenses that do not in any way amount to terrorism or violence and deadly acts." Most of the charges ... are for attempting to overthrow the state, following statements calling for Kurdish autonomy

John Kerry ... will meet ... with leaders from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to discuss options for restarting the process of bringing a political resolution to the situation in Syria ... "Everybody, including the Russians and the Iranians, have all said there is no military solution, so we need to get about the effort of finding the political solution," Kerry said. "This is a human catastrophe that now threatens the integrity of a whole group of countries around the region."

Israel has repeatedly warned it is prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms ... Barack Obama's administration has vigorously defended the agreement ... describing it as the best way to avoid a new war in the Middle East ... once international sanctions are lifted, Tehran will have billions of extra dollars in its war chest ... Diplomatic sources have said Israel and Iran's chief regional rival, Saudi Arabia, have been discussing a response to the nuclear deal

Italian authorities report 163,368 migrants were rescued at sea through the first 11 months of 2014. This is about three times the total arriving in 2013. They say Syrians were the most numerous migrants, followed by Eritreans.

Central African Republic has become a nation whose borders exist only on maps, where governmental authority is limited mostly to the 25 square miles occupied by the capital, Bangui, if that.