The Syrian army and its allies are in the "last moments before declaring victory" in Aleppo, a Syrian military source said, after rebel defences collapsed on December 12, leaving insurgents in a tiny, heavily bombarded pocket of ground.
The Syrian army's advance in Aleppo slowed on December 8 but a victory was still firmly in sight after President Bashar al-Assad vowed that retaking the city would change the course of the six-year-old war.
Syrian rebels in besieged eastern Aleppo called on December 7 for an immediate five-day ceasefire and the evacuation of civilians and wounded, but gave no indication they were ready to withdraw as demanded by Damascus and Moscow.
Iraqi army units surged toward the center of Mosul on December 6 in an attack from the city's southeastern edges that could give fresh impetus to the seven-week-old battle for Islamic State's Iraqi stronghold.
Syria's army and allies pushed into rebel-held parts of Aleppo's Old City on December 6, a monitoring group said, looking closer than ever to achieving their most important victory of the five-year-old civil war by driving rebels out of their last urban stronghold.
Russia and China on December 5 vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded a seven-day truce in Syria's Aleppo, with Russia arguing it would allow rebels to regroup and that time was needed for talks between Washington and Moscow.
Syria's army and allied militia advanced towards rebel-held areas of Aleppo's Old City on December 4 in an attack which a military source predicted would be over in a matter of weeks.
The Syrian army and its allies announced the capture of a large swath of eastern Aleppo from rebels on November 28 in an accelerating attack that threatens to crush the opposition in its most important urban stronghold.
A blast ripped through a street in the northern Syrian town of al-Rai on November 27 in what was believed to be an Islamic State suicide bombing, with several deaths reported and security and hospital sources saying 12 wounded, mostly children, were taken to a hospital in nearby Turkey.
Israeli aircraft killed four Islamic State-linked gunmen on November 27 after they fired mortars and shot at troops patrolling along the occupied Golan Heights, the military said.
The Syrian army said it had taken control of an important district in rebel-held eastern Aleppo on November 26 after fierce fighting, with rebels blaming intense air strikes and lack of hospitals for their collapsing frontline.
Russian or Syrian government warplanes pounded a women's hospital in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province on November 25, killing three people nearby, a monitoring group and an aid organization said.
The UN Special Envoy for Syria on November 24 said US President Barack Obama could well keep working until his last day in office to end the war in Syria, and Russia did not want to be held responsible for the demolition of eastern Aleppo.
Russian tankers have smuggled jet fuel to Syria through EU waters, bolstering military supplies to a war-torn country where Moscow is carrying out air strikes in support of the government, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, will fly to Moscow, Washington and Tehran in the coming days in a bid to secure access to civilians in Aleppo.
Rebel shelling killed eight children at a school in the government-held part of Aleppo on November 20 and a barrel bomb killed a family of six in the rebel-held area, part of a heavy government bombardment that has knocked out all the hospitals.
Indonesian police is deploying a so-called “Indonesia Prevents” operation to prepare for possible terror attacks ahead of Christmas and New Year.
Syrian rebels fought fiercely with pro-government forces trying to advance into opposition-held areas of eastern Aleppo and warplanes kept up their bombardment of the area on November 18 in a renewed bid by Damascus to retake the entire city.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on November 17 he discussed Ukraine and "all aspects" of Aleppo including renewed bombing in the Syrian city this week in a meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
US President Barack Obama gave a strong endorsement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 17 and used a visit to Berlin to warn Russia about consequences for intervening in the US election and prod Donald Trump to hold firm against Moscow.