In this gallery, IBTimes UK looks back at the year in four countries ripped apart by conflict: Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

Douma
A man rescues a child from the rubble of a destroyed building following air strikes on the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma, a rebel stronghold east of the capital Damascus, on 10 January 2016 Sameer al-Doumy/AFP
Salma
A member of the Syrian pro-government forces sits on a sofa in the strategic town of Salma, in the coastal Latakia province, following its recapture from rebel fighters on 15 January 2016 Youssef Karwashan/AFP
conflict photos 2016
3 February 2016: A Yemeni boy checks the damage following a mortar shell attack on the country's southern city of Taez, as clashes continue between fighters from the Popular Resistance Committees, loyal to Yemen's fugitive President and Shia Houthi rebels Ahmad al-Basha/AFP
Palmyra
31 March 2016: A photographer holds his picture of the Temple of Bel in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra taken in March 2014 in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by Isis Joseph Eid/AFP

What does next year hold for these four countries?

  • The battle for Aleppo gripped the world, but it is not the only active front across war-torn Syria. One of the next targets for the forces of President Assad will probably be the heartland of rebel territory, the neighbouring province of Idlib. The province is a stronghold of al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate and is now also packed with tens of thousands of rebels, many of them evacuated from other parts of the country, making it likely to be an even more bloody theatre than Aleppo.
  • As the operation to retake Mosul enters its third month, Iraqi forces control two pockets of territory in Mosul: a cluster of neighbourhoods on the city's southeast held by the Iraqi army's 9th division and districts on the city's east held by the special forces. Iraqi forces have repeatedly faced punishing Isis counterattacks in Mosul's dense residential neighbourhoods, after swift advances left the Iraqi forces vulnerable.
  • Unicef renewed its warning of a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where nearly 2.2 million children are acutely malnourished. The agency said that the rebel stronghold of Saada province has the world's highest rate of stunted growth among children, with an "unprecedented eight out of 10 children in some areas being chronically malnourished." Saudi Arabia has faced accusations of war crimes in Yemen as warplanes have caused mass civilian casualties.
  • Islamic State lost the city of Sirte, but that opens the door for Libya's multiple armed factions to turn on each other in a new showdown. It could be over control of oil, the North African nation's only real source of revenue. The country remains divided roughly between east and west. There is still no effective government and rival factions and militias — each side with backing from foreign countries — threaten a new chapter of violence.