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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

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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

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Saeed al-Batal

A Syrian's Struggle To Get By

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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

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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

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AP

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

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Haidar Mohammed Ali/AFP/Getty Images

With Limited Gains, U.S. Bombing Campaign Faces Growing Criticism

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An explosion following an airstrike is seen in the Syrian town of Kobani from near the Mursitpinar border crossing in the southeastern town of Suruc, in Turkey's Sanliurfa province, on Wednesday. Yannis Behrakis/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Yannis Behrakis/Reuters/Landov

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

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Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images

Facing The Islamic State Threat, Kurdish Fighters Unite

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The site at Gobekli Tepe, or "Potbelly Hill," on the Urfa plain in southeastern Turkey is believed by some to be the world's first place of worship. This would upend the conventional thought that religion developed as a byproduct of human settlements. Vincent J. Musi/National Geographic Society/Corbis hide caption

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Vincent J. Musi/National Geographic Society/Corbis

In Southeast Turkey, A Long History Of Bloodshed And Worship

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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

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Manu Brabo/AP

Syria's 'Moderate Rebels' Say They Are Willing, But Need Weapons

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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

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Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Kurds Hoping To Fight ISIS In Kobani Are Trapped By Turkish Suspicions

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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

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Courtesy of Kassig Family