These are the most powerful images from the Middle East in 2015

Published January 3rd, 2016 - 00:10 GMT

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It’s been quite a year for the Middle East, with Daesh becoming further entrenched in Syria and Iraq, a massive refugee crisis destabilizing the region, and a new Palestinian intifada trying once again to shake off the Israeli yoke. Here are 11 of the most powerful images from 2015 that show major events in the Middle East, and how they’ve affected the rest of the world.

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In February, a Daesh affiliate in Libya beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a beach, broadcasting the footage for the whole world to see. The beheaded Christians were migrant workers from Egypt who had reportedly been kidnapped in December. The video provoked Egypt to launch airstrikes on ISIS in Libya for the first time.
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Image 1 of 11:  1 / 11In February, a Daesh affiliate in Libya beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a beach, broadcasting the footage for the whole world to see. The beheaded Christians were migrant workers from Egypt who had reportedly been kidnapped in December. The video provoked Egypt to launch airstrikes on ISIS in Libya for the first time.

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That same month, Daesh released a video showing Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive inside a cage. Al-Kasasbeh had been captured two months earlier when his plane crashed near Raqqa, Syria. The video caused public outcry in Jordan and caused the country to increase airstrikes on Daesh positions.
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Image 2 of 11:  2 / 11That same month, Daesh released a video showing Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive inside a cage. Al-Kasasbeh had been captured two months earlier when his plane crashed near Raqqa, Syria. The video caused public outcry in Jordan and caused the country to increase airstrikes on Daesh positions.

Enlarge
In March, two members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, a Marxist rebel group in Turkey, took this Istanbul prosecutor hostage, threatening to kill him unless he identified the policemen responsible for the killing of a 15-year-old in 2014. Hours after this photo was released, the rebels killed the prosecutor.
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Image 3 of 11:  3 / 11In March, two members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, a Marxist rebel group in Turkey, took this Istanbul prosecutor hostage, threatening to kill him unless he identified the policemen responsible for the killing of a 15-year-old in 2014. Hours after this photo was released, the rebels killed the prosecutor.

Enlarge
In April, a video of a man in Saudi Arabia slapping a woman so hard she fell to the ground went viral on YouTube. Viewers were shocked that none of the many bystanders at the scene intervened to help the woman who had been assaulted. For many, the video summed up Saudi Arabia’s misogynistic culture. The man was later arrested.
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Image 4 of 11:  4 / 11In April, a video of a man in Saudi Arabia slapping a woman so hard she fell to the ground went viral on YouTube. Viewers were shocked that none of the many bystanders at the scene intervened to help the woman who had been assaulted. For many, the video summed up Saudi Arabia’s misogynistic culture. The man was later arrested.

Enlarge
Later that month, this photo of a fighter in Yemen emerged on social media. According to Yemen Now, the man is a member of an anti-Houthi militia in the south, which is partly occupied by Houthi rebels from the north. The image, which was reportedly released to raise morale among the southern resistance, received international news coverage.
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Image 5 of 11:  5 / 11Later that month, this photo of a fighter in Yemen emerged on social media. According to Yemen Now, the man is a member of an anti-Houthi militia in the south, which is partly occupied by Houthi rebels from the north. The image, which was reportedly released to raise morale among the southern resistance, received international news coverage.

Enlarge
In August, protests erupted in Beirut over the government’s inability to collect garbage. One night, during a demonstration that had become violent, this Lebanese soldier put down his baton for a few moments to cry for his country. The emotional image showed protesters the humanity behind some of the police they were clashing with.
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Image 6 of 11:  6 / 11In August, protests erupted in Beirut over the government’s inability to collect garbage. One night, during a demonstration that had become violent, this Lebanese soldier put down his baton for a few moments to cry for his country. The emotional image showed protesters the humanity behind some of the police they were clashing with.

Enlarge
That same month, also in Beirut, a Syrian refugee was photographed selling pens in the street while his 4-year-old daughter slept on his shoulder. The image quickly went viral, and the photographer, an Icelandic journalist, set up a crowdfunding account so that people could donate to the family. To date, donations have reached almost $200,000.
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Image 7 of 11:  7 / 11That same month, also in Beirut, a Syrian refugee was photographed selling pens in the street while his 4-year-old daughter slept on his shoulder. The image quickly went viral, and the photographer, an Icelandic journalist, set up a crowdfunding account so that people could donate to the family. To date, donations have reached almost $200,000.

Enlarge
In September, a photograph of a 3-year-old Kurdish boy dead on a Turkish beach finally woke up the world to the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis. The emotional image caused donations to charities to skyrocket, and forced world leaders to take action in the resettlement of migrants in Europe and elsewhere.
Reduce

Image 8 of 11:  8 / 11In September, a photograph of a 3-year-old Kurdish boy dead on a Turkish beach finally woke up the world to the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis. The emotional image caused donations to charities to skyrocket, and forced world leaders to take action in the resettlement of migrants in Europe and elsewhere.

Enlarge
On Sept. 24, a deadly stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, claimed the lives of hundreds of people during the annual Muslim hajj. The Associated Press said that nearly 2,400 people perished during the crush, making it the deadliest disaster in the history of the yearly event, which has seen dozens of deadly stampedes and suffocations in the past.
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Image 9 of 11:  9 / 11On Sept. 24, a deadly stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, claimed the lives of hundreds of people during the annual Muslim hajj. The Associated Press said that nearly 2,400 people perished during the crush, making it the deadliest disaster in the history of the yearly event, which has seen dozens of deadly stampedes and suffocations in the past.

Enlarge
In October, this photo of a Palestinian lawyer kicking a tear gas canister at Israeli soldiers during a protest in Ramallah took the Internet by storm. “I am part of my people, part of the Palestinian wish for liberation,” the 26-year-old lawyer later told the Associated Press.
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Image 10 of 11:  10 / 11In October, this photo of a Palestinian lawyer kicking a tear gas canister at Israeli soldiers during a protest in Ramallah took the Internet by storm. “I am part of my people, part of the Palestinian wish for liberation,” the 26-year-old lawyer later told the Associated Press.

Enlarge
In November, this photo of a Syrian refugee cooking food for homeless people in Germany received millions of views on social networking sites around the world. The refugee, Alex Assaley, fled Damascus in ‘07 & settled in Germany in 2014. His act of kindness deflates the popular narrative that Syrian refugees are non-contributors to society.
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Image 11 of 11:  11 / 11In November, this photo of a Syrian refugee cooking food for homeless people in Germany received millions of views on social networking sites around the world. The refugee, Alex Assaley, fled Damascus in ‘07 & settled in Germany in 2014. His act of kindness deflates the popular narrative that Syrian refugees are non-contributors to society.

Enlarge

1

In February, a Daesh affiliate in Libya beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a beach, broadcasting the footage for the whole world to see. The beheaded Christians were migrant workers from Egypt who had reportedly been kidnapped in December. The video provoked Egypt to launch airstrikes on ISIS in Libya for the first time.

Image 1 of 11In February, a Daesh affiliate in Libya beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a beach, broadcasting the footage for the whole world to see. The beheaded Christians were migrant workers from Egypt who had reportedly been kidnapped in December. The video provoked Egypt to launch airstrikes on ISIS in Libya for the first time.

2

That same month, Daesh released a video showing Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive inside a cage. Al-Kasasbeh had been captured two months earlier when his plane crashed near Raqqa, Syria. The video caused public outcry in Jordan and caused the country to increase airstrikes on Daesh positions.

Image 2 of 11That same month, Daesh released a video showing Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive inside a cage. Al-Kasasbeh had been captured two months earlier when his plane crashed near Raqqa, Syria. The video caused public outcry in Jordan and caused the country to increase airstrikes on Daesh positions.

3

In March, two members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, a Marxist rebel group in Turkey, took this Istanbul prosecutor hostage, threatening to kill him unless he identified the policemen responsible for the killing of a 15-year-old in 2014. Hours after this photo was released, the rebels killed the prosecutor.

Image 3 of 11In March, two members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, a Marxist rebel group in Turkey, took this Istanbul prosecutor hostage, threatening to kill him unless he identified the policemen responsible for the killing of a 15-year-old in 2014. Hours after this photo was released, the rebels killed the prosecutor.

4

In April, a video of a man in Saudi Arabia slapping a woman so hard she fell to the ground went viral on YouTube. Viewers were shocked that none of the many bystanders at the scene intervened to help the woman who had been assaulted. For many, the video summed up Saudi Arabia’s misogynistic culture. The man was later arrested.

Image 4 of 11In April, a video of a man in Saudi Arabia slapping a woman so hard she fell to the ground went viral on YouTube. Viewers were shocked that none of the many bystanders at the scene intervened to help the woman who had been assaulted. For many, the video summed up Saudi Arabia’s misogynistic culture. The man was later arrested.

5

Later that month, this photo of a fighter in Yemen emerged on social media. According to Yemen Now, the man is a member of an anti-Houthi militia in the south, which is partly occupied by Houthi rebels from the north. The image, which was reportedly released to raise morale among the southern resistance, received international news coverage.

Image 5 of 11Later that month, this photo of a fighter in Yemen emerged on social media. According to Yemen Now, the man is a member of an anti-Houthi militia in the south, which is partly occupied by Houthi rebels from the north. The image, which was reportedly released to raise morale among the southern resistance, received international news coverage.

6

In August, protests erupted in Beirut over the government’s inability to collect garbage. One night, during a demonstration that had become violent, this Lebanese soldier put down his baton for a few moments to cry for his country. The emotional image showed protesters the humanity behind some of the police they were clashing with.

Image 6 of 11In August, protests erupted in Beirut over the government’s inability to collect garbage. One night, during a demonstration that had become violent, this Lebanese soldier put down his baton for a few moments to cry for his country. The emotional image showed protesters the humanity behind some of the police they were clashing with.

7

That same month, also in Beirut, a Syrian refugee was photographed selling pens in the street while his 4-year-old daughter slept on his shoulder. The image quickly went viral, and the photographer, an Icelandic journalist, set up a crowdfunding account so that people could donate to the family. To date, donations have reached almost $200,000.

Image 7 of 11That same month, also in Beirut, a Syrian refugee was photographed selling pens in the street while his 4-year-old daughter slept on his shoulder. The image quickly went viral, and the photographer, an Icelandic journalist, set up a crowdfunding account so that people could donate to the family. To date, donations have reached almost $200,000.

8

In September, a photograph of a 3-year-old Kurdish boy dead on a Turkish beach finally woke up the world to the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis. The emotional image caused donations to charities to skyrocket, and forced world leaders to take action in the resettlement of migrants in Europe and elsewhere.

Image 8 of 11In September, a photograph of a 3-year-old Kurdish boy dead on a Turkish beach finally woke up the world to the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis. The emotional image caused donations to charities to skyrocket, and forced world leaders to take action in the resettlement of migrants in Europe and elsewhere.

9

On Sept. 24, a deadly stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, claimed the lives of hundreds of people during the annual Muslim hajj. The Associated Press said that nearly 2,400 people perished during the crush, making it the deadliest disaster in the history of the yearly event, which has seen dozens of deadly stampedes and suffocations in the past.

Image 9 of 11On Sept. 24, a deadly stampede near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, claimed the lives of hundreds of people during the annual Muslim hajj. The Associated Press said that nearly 2,400 people perished during the crush, making it the deadliest disaster in the history of the yearly event, which has seen dozens of deadly stampedes and suffocations in the past.

10

In October, this photo of a Palestinian lawyer kicking a tear gas canister at Israeli soldiers during a protest in Ramallah took the Internet by storm. “I am part of my people, part of the Palestinian wish for liberation,” the 26-year-old lawyer later told the Associated Press.

Image 10 of 11In October, this photo of a Palestinian lawyer kicking a tear gas canister at Israeli soldiers during a protest in Ramallah took the Internet by storm. “I am part of my people, part of the Palestinian wish for liberation,” the 26-year-old lawyer later told the Associated Press.

11

In November, this photo of a Syrian refugee cooking food for homeless people in Germany received millions of views on social networking sites around the world. The refugee, Alex Assaley, fled Damascus in ‘07 & settled in Germany in 2014. His act of kindness deflates the popular narrative that Syrian refugees are non-contributors to society.

Image 11 of 11In November, this photo of a Syrian refugee cooking food for homeless people in Germany received millions of views on social networking sites around the world. The refugee, Alex Assaley, fled Damascus in ‘07 & settled in Germany in 2014. His act of kindness deflates the popular narrative that Syrian refugees are non-contributors to society.

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