“It’s hard to remember a time when more crises were jostling for space in the headline news, or when the world’s leading diplomats were engaged in diplomacy on so many issues simultaneously.”

Islamist militants have declared an Islamic “caliphate” in an area straddling Iraq and Syria, trumpeting the declaration in several videos, challenging al-Qaida and changing its name to the Islamic State. Full story

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa, Syria. Photo: Reuters

On World Refugee Day, NGO Acted shares photographs from an art project that aims to give Syrian children back their childhoods and help them to develop a connection with their new home. More photos here

Photos: AptART

Earlier this year, artist George Butler spent several days with Syrian refugees. His portraits of the people – and the often random possessions they brought with them when they fled their homes – tell their own poignant tales. Read their stories 

Aleppo’s most wanted man - the rebel leader behind tunnel bombs

The most wanted man in Aleppo is feeling satisfied. Less than a week before, he had helped pack the last of 25 tonnes of explosives into a tunnel dug under a hotel and filled with Syrian troops.

"I was sitting in this room," said Abu Assad, the rebel commander of Aleppo’s tunnel forces at another of the city’s frontlines. Smiling, he cupped his ear and added: "We heard the blast from here. It made us very happy."

Full story here

Pictured: Abu Assad, rebel commander of Aleppo’s tunnel forces. Photograph: Zac Baillie for the Guardian

“The crisis in Yarmouk is unfolding as new UN documents appear to support a widespread opposition claim that the regime of President Assad is using starvation tactics as a weapon of war.”

Syrian rebels warn of potential Homs massacre as regime troops advance

Syrian government forces stepped up efforts to advance on opposition areas of the central city of Homs on Thursday amid warnings of a potential massacre following months of siege and starvation.

But reports from the scene described rebels clinging to their positions despite tank shelling, sniper fire and air strikes mounted to help government troops recapture several enclaves in the old city. Full story

Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad says civil war is turning in regime’s favour

President Bashar al-Assad has said that the country’s three-year civil war is turning in the government’s favour, state news agency SANA reported.

"This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army’s achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country," he said.

Syria’s army has made a series of advances in recent months, overrunning opposition bastions near the Lebanese border and in the central province of Homs. Full story

Pictured: Civilians and rescuers after a government warplane attack on the Duma area of Damascus on Sunday. Photograph: Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Syria’s unknown victims: the thousands missing or dead in regime custody

Among the more than 100,000 dead in the three years since the Syrian civil war began are at least 11,000 disappeared into the Assad regime’s custody. But the true number may be much higher, the Guardian finds in interviews with released prisoners and relatives of the missing. Read more

Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images