Allison Begalman, a student at the University of Southern California, wears goggles and headphones to experience a virtual mortar strike on civilians in Aleppo, Syria. James Delahoussaye/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption James Delahoussaye/NPR

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in Beirut on Monday. Mughniyeh was one of six ranking members of Hezbollah killed in a suspected Israeli strike Sunday. Iran says a general of its elite Revolutionary Guards was also killed. Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

A rebel fighter takes aim during a training session in Eastern al-Ghouta, a rebel-held region outside the capital Damascus, earlier this month. Russia is inviting Syrian opposition groups to peace talks in Moscow, but few of them want to go to a country that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images

Alex Sanchez with his wife, Blanca, and sons Duvan and Irvin. Sanchez has been eligible to live and work legally in the U.S. since 2001, when his home country, El Salvador, experienced a major earthquake. Alexandra Starr for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alexandra Starr for NPR

Syrian refugees carry gasoline under heavy snow fall at the a U.N.-run refugee camp of Fayda near the Bekaa Valley town of Zahle in eastern Lebanon on Jan. 7. STR/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption STR/AFP/Getty Images

Safi al-Kasasbeh and his wife Saafia are the parents of Moath al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian air force pilot captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria. The worried parents are proud of their son, but say Jordan should not be involved in the coalition against ISIS. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

NPR's Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama on Dec. 17 in the Oval Office, where they discussed U.S. involvement in the Middle East and the world as a whole. Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Syrian President Bashar Assad, shown here in July, appeared to be in a tough position at the beginning of the year. But many analysts say his hold on power grew stronger over the course of 2014, due in part to the U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State. SANA/AP hide caption

itoggle caption SANA/AP

Dr. Mohammed Arif helps treat a wounded patient at a field hospital in Kobani, Syria. Most of the clinics in this besieged Syrian border town are now in ruins. Only one still stands, its location kept secret lest it be targeted. Jake Simkin/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jake Simkin/AP

Cooperative captives conduct afternoon prayers inside a communal cellblock at Camp 6 last month at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Six long-time detainees of the prison have been transferred to Uruguay. Walter Michot/MCT/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Walter Michot/MCT/Landov

Syrian refugees break their fast outside their tent at a Syrian refugee camp in Marj, Lebanon, on June 29. The World Food Program says it has suspended a food voucher program serving more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees because of a funding crisis. Bilal Hussein/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Bilal Hussein/AP

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

Peter Kassig, who changed his first name to Abdul-Rahman when he converted to Islam, is shown with a truck filled with aid supplies for Syrian refugees. Courtesy of Kassig family hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Kassig family

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