Parallels Many Stories, One World

The Islamic Youth Council in Derna, in eastern Libya, is among the local militant groups from Egypt to Libya that have reportedly pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters/Landov

Islamic State fighters march in Raqqa, Syria. The group has killed five Western hostages in recent months. In the 1990s, many radical Islamist groups gave interviews to journalists and refrained from kidnapping Westerners. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

The population of the Syrian city of Douma — a rebel enclave — has dropped from 750,000 to about 250,000 since the start of the Syrian conflict. Photographer Saeed al-Batal (a pseudonym) has captured life in this city under siege. Here, a scene from Douma photographed on Oct. 23. Saeed al-Batal hide caption

itoggle caption Saeed al-Batal

Support NPR

Support NPR

NPR Shop

Support The Programs You Love

Iraqi Kurdish soldiers, or peshmerga, patrol an area in the recently recaptured town of Zumar, near Mosul in northern Iraq on Oct. 29. When the Islamic State captured the town in August, the Kurds fled. Now that the Kurds are in control, the Arabs are all gone. STR/EPA /LANDOV hide caption

itoggle caption STR/EPA /LANDOV

Palestinian members of Hamas' armed wing takes part in a rally Thursday in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The event was held in memory of Hamas military commanders killed during seven weeks of fighting with Israel in the Gaza Strip this summer. Abed Rahim Khatib/APA/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Abed Rahim Khatib/APA/Landov

NATO has reported a spike in Russian military activity at sea and in NATO and other western European countries' airspace as tensions have mounted over Ukraine. Here, a Russian military long-range bomber aircraft flies in international airspace on Oct. 29. Royal Air Force/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Royal Air Force/AP

Demonstrators chant in favor of the Islamic State and carry the group's flags in Mosul, Iraq, in June. With videos, Internet magazines and social media, the group has effectively recruited throughout the world. AP hide caption

itoggle caption AP

Gen. John F. Campbell, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, speaks during a ceremony in Kabul on Aug. 26. Campbell is overseeing the U.S. drawdown in the country after 13 years of war. Massoud Hossaini/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Massoud Hossaini/AP

Ramatu Usman, shown here with one of her sons, is a 37-year-old mother of eight. She says she was separated from one of her sons, 6-year-old Yahaya Buba, following an attack. He is still missing. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ofeibea Quist-Arcton/NPR

Palestinian stone-throwers take cover behind doors during clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem on Thursday. For months, the streets of East Jerusalem have been tense, with frequent clashes between police and Palestinians. Ammar Awad/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Ammar Awad/Reuters/Landov

Iraqi Yazidi women who fled the violence in the northern Iraq take shelter in the city of Dohuk on Aug. 5. The Yazidis, are a small community that follows an ancient faith and have been repeatedly targeted by jihadists. Yazidi leaders say several thousands members of the community have gone missing in recent months. Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images

Four Americans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan visit Kabul as part of Operation Proper Exit, a program designed for wounded warriors. From left, they are Staff Sgt. Ben Dellinger, Capt. Casey Wolfe, Capt. John Urquhart (who is hidden) and Sgt. James "Eddie" Wright. Sean Carberry/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Carberry/NPR

American Ryan Boyette, left, works with Yassin Hassen, right, in an interview with a rebel in Sudan's Nuba Mountains. Boyette started the Nuba Reports website in 2011 and recruited Hassen to join as a citizen journalist. Alan Boswell/MCT via Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alan Boswell/MCT via Getty Images

Iraqi soldiers walk in Jurf al-Sakhr, south of the capital Baghdad, on Monday after Iraqi military forces retook the area from Islamic State militants. Iraqi forces, supported by U.S. airstrikes, have made limited gains in recent months, but critics are questioning whether the U.S. strategy is likely to succeed. Haidar Mohammed Ali/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Haidar Mohammed Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Three female members of Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and an Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighter stand near the front line in Makhmur, in northern Iraq, on Aug. 9. The Turkish and Iraqi Kurds have been fighting together against the Islamic State. Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Marines board a C-130 transport plane as they withdraw from Camp Leatherneck, their huge base in southern Afghanistan. This marked the biggest handover yet to the Afghan army, which is facing a tough fight with the Taliban in Helmand province and other parts of southern Afghanistan. Wakil Koshar/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Wakil Koshar/AFP/Getty Images

Peshmerga look out from a front-line outpost — a few sandbags, soldiers, and grenades perched on the brow of a hill — to the eastern Iraqi town of Jalula. The Kurdish fighters are grappling with how to combat changing ISIS tactics. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

Aza Betwata (left) and his brother Mirwan (center) left Holland to join the Kurdish peshmerga fighting against ISIS militants in northern Iraq. Though the brothers come from a family of fighters, Aza had just two days of training — his brother must show him how to strip and clean his rifle. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

A family passes through Maktab Khaled in northern Iraq, the last Kurdish checkpoint before they make their way to Kirkuk. ISIS-controlled territory lies less than a mile away. Leila Fadel/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Leila Fadel/NPR

A Free Syrian Army fighter runs after attacking a tank with a rocket-propelled grenade during fighting in Aleppo, Syria, in September 2012. The rebels say they are willing to take on the Islamic State, but need more weapons. Manu Brabo/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Manu Brabo/AP

Thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Kobani, Syria, while fighting continued between Syrian Kurds and the militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Abdul-Rahman Kassig, who was formerly known as Peter, is shown with a truck filled with aid supplies for Syrian refugees. The American aid worker was seized by the Islamic State in October 2013 and was killed by the group, which released a video Sunday of his beheading. Courtesy of Kassig Family hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Kassig Family