{FD} Iraqi Christians in Baghdad nearly gone, but some shelter at Camp Virgin Mary

Just days shy of Christmas, dozens of Iraqi children fill the stage at the Alliance Evangelical Church in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood to sing “Jingle Bells” and rehearse their Nativity play. Odds are it will likely be the city’s last such performance.

{FD} Life after ISIS: Christians say they can’t go home without international protection

Residents of this small Christian town in northern Iraq were forced to flee when ISIS militants overran it in 2014. But now that the town has been liberated by Iraqi forces, the Christians who have trickled back are desperate to leave once again.

{FD} Iraqi Kurds still love US despite its opposition to Kurdish independence, says Kurdish leader

As questions swirl over the state of U.S and Kurdish relations amid the intense fallout of a September referendum for independence that Washington opposed, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechiravan Barzani insisted that the people of Kurdistan still see America as their number one partner and have hope the U.S will come to endorse their ongoing dream of independence.

{FD} North Korea’s first lady Ri Sol-ju remains a mystery

Taking a break from waging a war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, made a rare public propaganda appearance with his wife “Comrade Ri Sol-ju” – as she is called in state media – raising questions as to why she is most often kept from the public’s eye, and what her role is inside the regime.

{FD} Leave No Man Behind: Expert team prepares to retrieve remains of fallen WWII servicemen from up to 350 feet below ice

A 15-person team from the nonprofit Fallen American Veterans Foundation (FAVF) with the Defense Department, the Coast Guard, and Google Earth is preparing to embark on the search and recovery of U.S. service personnel missing in action during WWII in some of the most inhospitable parts of the planet.

{FD} As kidnapped American professor’s health dangerously deteriorates, pressure on Pakistan again mounts

It has been a year and three months since five gunmen disguised in Afghan military uniforms targeted an SUV on a main road near Kabul’s American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) – taking two foreign professors, U.S citizen Kevin King, 60 and Australian Timothy Weeks, 48, as hostages.

{FD} Syria’s Antioch Church patriarch: US sanctions are hurting Christians too

His Beatitude John X, the Damascus-based leader of the Antioch Christian Church, wrapped up his recent visit to the United States with a desperate appeal for American leadership to bring an end to the suffering in Syria, assist in locating the whereabouts of three kidnapped church leaders, and help secure the future of Christianity in the volatile region.

{FD} Almost all American ISIS fighters unaccounted for, sparking fears they could slip through cracks and return

When it came to recruiting foreigners to flee the comforts of home for the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, ISIS succeeded like no other – encouraging over 40,000 fighters from more than 110 countries to travel to the fighting fray both before and after the declaration of the “caliphate” in June 2014.

{FD} Iraqi Christians forced to flee homes again after skirmishes between Kurds and central government

The first Iraqi Christians to return to their villages after it was liberated from ISIS’ control, has been forced to flee once again as Peshmerga forces have invaded the village of Teleskof.

{FD} Getting tough on the Taliban: Trump admin said to be urging closure of the militant group’s Qatar office

After years of failed peace talks and following one of the deadliest weeks of suicide attacks on Afghan forces, the Trump administration is said to be pushing for the Taliban’s Qatar-based office to be closed down in an increasingly iron-fisted approach to defeating the militant group.

{FD} Saudi ex-intel chief says Assad is the biggest terrorist, praises Trump’s harsh Iran stance

Former Saudi Chief of Intelligence and Ambassador to the U.S. and U.K. Prince Turki al-Faisal is cautioning the Trump team to clarify its stance on defeating “the biggest terrorist in Syria” — the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad — while at the same time praising the clear, ironfisted strategy of the U.S. toward Iran.

{FD} Behind the dramatic rescue of American-Canadian couple from Haqqani captivity

Armed with information from U.S. intelligence, Pakistani soldiers staged a dramatic but successful rescue operation last week to free American Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, 34, and their three young children after five years in Haqqani network captivity.

{FD} Turkey’s relationship with the West crumbles amid new jail sentence for American journalist

A Wall Street Journal reporter’s sentencing by a Turkish court this week, to two years behind bars by “spreading terrorist propaganda,” marks the latest in the government’s escalating hostility not only with the press, but with any figure tied to the West.

{FD} Iran’s secret sites linked to nuclear weapons development revealed

President Donald Trump is expected this week to “decertify” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known simply as the Iran deal, declaring that the agreement reached in 2015 by the U.S. and five other international powers is not in America’s national interest.