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Middle East

Mansour Omari had been held nearly a year in an underground Syrian prison, tortured and starved, when his name was called by the guards. He was going to be released. The other prisoners hugged him and wept. In the dark, they whispered, "Don't forget us."

Omari would not forget. When he was eventually set free in 2013, he smuggled out the names of all 82 inmates. The lists were written on torn pieces of clothing and penned in blood, then sewn into the collar and cuffs of his shirt. It was his duty, he says, to make sure the names saw the light of day.

U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / Creative Commons

President Donald Trump’s declaration that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, along with his announcement that he plans to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel-Aviv, raised concerns among critics who say it could disrupt any hope for a long-awaited peace.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," President Trump said in a controversial address from the White House on Wednesday afternoon. He also directed the State Department to "begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET

As President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, other countries wasted little time in condemning the move on Wednesday. Citing fears that it will inflame tensions and undermine the peace process with Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital, many in the international community also warned the White House against its stated intention of eventually relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the hotly disputed city.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET Tuesday

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former Yemeni president who spent more than three decades in power before he stepped down in 2012, was killed after violence consumed the country's capital over the weekend. A member of Saleh's own party told NPR that Saleh had died, even as graphic video purporting to show his body circulated on social media Monday.

Houthi rebels, Saleh's erstwhile allies, ambushed and killed him during a rocket-propelled grenade attack on his vehicle as he tried to leave Sanaa.

Roughly three weeks into a blockade by a Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni ports of entry are beginning to see some desperately needed shipments of food and humanitarian aid.

A container ship stocked with 25,000 tons of wheat docked at the Red Sea port of Saleef on Monday — just one day after a ship carrying 5,500 tons of flour arrived at Hodeidah, another port held by the Houthi rebels whom the Saudis have been seeking to dislodge from Yemen.

Willie Stark / Creative Commons

I have traveled to three foreign countries since President Trump was elected. While I have always been proud to be American, even as I criticize much in my country, I was humbled by what people thought of America in the countries I visited. They were puzzled by our health care system, and appalled by our guns and voter apathy. 

Updated at 7 a.m. ET

A magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck northern Iraq and parts of Iran has killed more than 400 people in both countries and injured more than 6,000, according to officials. It is the strongest quake to hit the region in years.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are in the process of kicking ISIS out of Raqqa, the extremist group's self-declared capital where it has terrorized civilians and plotted attacks against targets linked to the U.S. and its allies. Now ISIS fighters are reportedly bottled up in a stadium complex in the Syrian city.

Feng Wei / Creative Commons

President Trump decertified the internationally-supported Iran nuclear deal Friday but didn't walk away from it. Instead, he kicked it to Congress to determine whether to reimpose sanctions even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran was in compliance with the deal.

President Trump said he would let his generals manage the fight against the Islamic State. And so far, he's done that.

The U.S. and its coalition partners carried out more than 5,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq combined in August. That's the highest monthly figure since the air campaign began three years ago.

Nine months after Iraqi forces drove ISIS from eastern Mosul, the east side's main street has come back to life. Wedding convoys decorated with ribbons and flowers honk their horns. Female drivers pull up in front of pastry shops and stalls piled high with fresh fruit.

Young men cruise by with car stereos tuned to upbeat music instead of ISIS radio and lectures on Islam. Signs advertise new pool halls and shisha lounges.

Five years ago, before he was a candidate for president, Donald Trump was pretty sure he knew what to do about Afghanistan. It was a losing proposition, "a complete waste" in terms of "blood and treasure."

"Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back?" he asked on Twitter in 2012. "Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!"

More recently, candidate Trump was less certain about exactly when the U.S. should exit the struggle that he had railed against continuing.

President Trump inherited it with the presidency and now is putting the albatross that is Afghanistan around his own neck.

On July 15 last year, in an attempted coup, a faction of the Turkish military bombed government buildings, blocked roads and bridges and attempted to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The coup attempt was quelled by the next day — but Turkey has been feeling the repercussions ever since.

The government has engaged in sweeping purges, arresting tens of thousands and firing more than 100,000 people from their jobs, including civil servants, university professors and soldiers.

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