Arts and Entertainment

One of the most brutal battles of the Second World War was the Nazi offensive against Stalingrad where atrocities were committed on both sides and the soldiers also had to contend with starvation and freezing conditions during a lengthy siege.

Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they run for cover in Daraya, near Damascus; Syamend Farhan says he is just happy to have escaped the terror of Syria

Syria civil war: You saved me, but I just think about the family I left behind

The story of one Syrian's journey from Damascus to Manchester

'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan

Photographer shocked at how photo was 'twisted'

Syria: John Kerry urges opposition to attend peace talks

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has urged the Syrian opposition on to attend next week's peace conference in Switzerland and said any individual chosen to lead a political transition in the war-torn country must be acceptable to both the government and opposing forces.

Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they walk towards the frontline in the refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus

Yarmouk: A camp without hope for a people without a land

Of its 250,000 Palestinians, scarcely 18,000 now remain; up to 1,500 are dead, many of them due to hunger

The roadside bomb attack that killed the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Beirut in February 2005

Rafiq Hariri murder trial: Proceedings begin - but the dock is empty

Nine years ago, Lebanon’s Prime Minister was murdered. But his alleged killers won’t be at the tribunal in The Hague as they haven’t been arrested. Robert Fisk says history shows the guilty will never face justice

Syrian rebel groups are drawing recruits from a variety of national backgrounds

EU citizens fighting in Syria pose threat of terror attacks when they return home, says domestic affairs chief

The first challenge for European governments is how to prevent young men and women from leaving to take part in the conflict

Syria crisis: Half of population in need of aid as Britain pledges another £100m

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says ‘fighting has set Syria back decades’

Colin Firth and Emma Thompson, a Refugee Council patron, have called for the UK to offer a safe haven to Syrian refugees

Emma Thompson and Colin Firth call for UK to offer Syrian refugees a safe haven

Stars say 'money is not enough' and urge David Cameron to join other western leaders in providing places for 30,000 of the most vulnerable

Russia and US unite to push for Syria ceasefire as Kerry and Lavrov meet in Paris

Powers call for humanitarian aid as rebels fight each other

Rebel groups now fight each other as well as the army

'You need to go to Geneva': Opposition source reveals threat made by Britain and US over Syria peace talks

The two Western powers could withdraw support from the rebels unless they attend

US and Russia say negotiations close to ceasefire and aid convoy access in Syria

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov met for talks in Paris this week ahead of a peace conference in Geneva

A man holds up a dust-covered baby who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus

UN to stop updating death toll in Syria conflict

The organisation said it could no longer guarantee the figures would be accurate

Bolton science teacher arrested by counter-terrorism officers over Syria links

Jamshed Javeed is alleged to have been planning to travel to the country

Geneva II: Iran not in first round of nations for UN Syria peace talks

Iran is not among the “first round” of nations invited to attend Syria peace talks in Switzerland later this month, a UN spokesman said.

Sunni fighters arm themselves with RPG missiles launcher and machine guns as they take up position in Fallujah city, western Iraq

The harm before the storm: Army battles to expel resurgent al-Qa’ida from Iraq

As the wars in Iraq and Syria increasingly become one, Iraqi Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki must restore order before sectarianism worsens

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there