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 2016Sameer 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 2016Youssef 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 rebelsAhmad 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 IsisJoseph Eid/AFP
Aleppo
A Syrian boy is comforted as he cries next to the body of a relative who died in a reported airstrike in the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Soukour in the northern city of Aleppo on 27 April 2016Karam al-Masri/AFP
conflict photos 2016
5 April 2016: Smoke and fire billow during a controlled explosion to destroy explosives and mines laid by Houthi rebels in the southern Yemeni city of AdenSaleh al-Obeidi/AFP
Aleppo Syria
Syrian civil defence volunteers evacuate a baby from a destroyed building following a reported air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on 28 April 2016Ameer Alhalbi/AFP
Syria conflict
A boy, whose brother was killed, reacts at a site hit by air strikes in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria on 2 June 2016Khalil Ashawi/ Reuters
Manbij city
A woman removes her Niqab after Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) regained control of Manbij, which was under the control of the Islamic State in Aleppo province, Syria on 9 June 2016Rodi Said/ Reuters
Fallujah
A member of Iraqi government forces wearing a Gareth Bale shirt celebrates along a street in Fallujah after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants on 27 June 2016Thaier Al-Sudani/ Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government fires a shell with Soviet made T-55 tank at Islamic State fighters in Sirte, Libya on 2 August 2016Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters
war on Islamic State Isis Daesh
A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces helps to comb the city of Manbij for the last remaining jihadists on 7 August 2016Delil Souleiman/AFP
Khaled Abdullah
A girl stands alongside women loyal to the Houthi movement to show support to the movement during a parade in Sanaa, Yemen on 7 September, 2016Khaled Abdullah/ Reuters
Aleppo
Syrian men carrying babies make their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held Salihin neighbourhood of Aleppo on 11 September 2016Ameer Alhalbi/AFP
Libyan Government of National Accord
A fighter, supporter of the Libyan Government of National Accord, uses a dummy to catch the attention of Islamic State group snipers at the frontline in Sirte on 22 September 2016Fabio Bucciarelli/ AFP
Aleppo air strikes dead babies
A man carries the body of his nephew following a reported air strike on the al-Muasalat area of Aleppo on 23 September 2016Thaer Mohammed/AFP
Isis Syria
Satellite dishes damaged by Islamic State militants are pictured inside a mosque in Turkman Bareh village in northern Aleppo Governorate, after rebel fighters advanced into the area on 7 October 2016Khalil Ashawi/Reuters
Khaled Abdullah
Smoke rises at a community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen on 9 October 2016Khaled Abdullah/ Reuters
Battle for Mosul
A man takes a selfie in front of a wall of fire after oil was set ablaze in the Qayyarah area on 19 October 2016Yasin Akgul/AFP
Battle for Mosul
Iraqi forces covered in dust sit at the back of a vehicle as troops advance through the desert on the banks of the Tigris river on 20 October 2016Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP
Mosul
A boy pauses on his bike in front of an oil field in Qayyarah that was set on fire by retreating Isis fighters ahead of the Mosul offensive on 21 October 2016Carl Court/ Getty Images
Mosul
Displaced Iraqis arrive at a refugee camp in the town of Qayyarah, south of Mosul, during an operation to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State on 22 October 2016Bulent Kilic/AFP
Douma Damascus Syria
The body of a child is seen at a makeshift hospital following a cluster bomb attack on the rebel-held area of Douma, east of Damascus on 24 October 2016Abd Doumany/ AFP
Yemen
Saida Ahmad Baghili, 18, who is affected by severe acute malnutrition, sits on a bed at the al-Thawra hospital in the Red Sea port city of Houdieda, Yemen on 24 October 2016Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters
Reuters 2016
The body of 11-year-old Mahmoud Barakeh is placed on a table to be prepared for burial after shelling in the rebel held besieged town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on 24 October, 2016.Bassam Khabieh/ Reuters
IBTPOTY2016
A child pushes a sheep with wool blackened by smoke and oil from oil wells set on fire by fleeing Isis members, in Qayyarah, Iraq on 10 November 2016Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Battle for Mosul
An Iraqi woman holds her cat named Lulu, as she waits for transport in the Kurdish checkpoint village of Shaqouli, about 35 kilometres east of Mosul, after she and her children fled their home in the eastern Intisar neighbourhood of the embattled city on 10 November 2016Odd Andersen/AFP
Goran Tomasevic
Men pull drag the body of an Islamic State fighter before burying him near Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq on 11 November 2016Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
A man lifts his clothing to show an Iraqi soldier he is not armed as he crosses from the Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul into the Iraqi-controlled part of the city on 14 November 2016Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTPOTY2016
A young boy injured by an IED in the Entisar neighbourhood of Mosul waits for treatment in an ambulance outide an IDP camp in Kalak, Iraq, on 14 November 2016Chris McGrath/Getty Images
conflict photos 2016
14 November 2016: Children sit amidst the rubble of a house hit by Saudi-led coalition air strikes two days earlier on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital SanaaMohammed Huwais/AFP
conflict photos 2016
16 November 2016: A woman carrying a handicapped child uses the opportunity to flee during a lull in the fighting as the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd division engage IS fighters while pushing into a neighbourhood in MosulOdd Andersen/AFP
conflict photos 2016
21 November 2016: Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord hold a position amid the rubble of destroyed buildings in Sirte's Al-Giza Al-Bahriya district during clashes with Islamic State jihadists to retake control of the coastal cityMahmud Turkia/AFP
conflict photos 2016
22 November 2016: A soldier from the Iraqi Special Forces takes a selfie on a street in the Aden district of Mosul after troops almost entirely retook the area from Islamic State jihadistsThomas Coex/AFP
Goran Tomasevic
Boys play football in front of oilfields that were set alight by fleeing Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of Mosul on 23 November 2016Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Khazer camp
A displaced Iraqi girl, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, stands inside her family tent at Khazer camp, Iraq on 24 November 2016Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Mosul
Displaced Iraqi civilians drive back to their village of Tall Abtah, near the city of Mosul on 25 November 2016, after Iraqi forces retook the village from Islamic StateThomas Coex/AFP
Goran Tomasevic
An Iraqi soldier uses his rifle to hold up a helmet as a decoy during clashes with Islamic State fighters in Al-Qasar, South-East of Mosul, Iraq on 28 November 2016Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Aleppo Syria
A member of Syrian pro-government forces stands on top of a building overlooking Aleppo in the city's Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood on 28 November 2016, during their assault to retake the entire city from rebel fightersGeorge Ourfalian/AFP
conflict photos 2016
2 December 2016: Fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitaries sit in a vehicle driving through the desert west of MosulAhmad al-Rubaye/AFP
conflict photos 2016
6 December 2016: A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government waving a national flag flashes a victory sign as he stands atop the ruins of a house after forces finished clearing Ghiza Bahriya, the final district of the former Islamic State stronghold of SirteHani Amara/Reuters
conflict photos 2016
8 December 2016: Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government cycle in the former Islamic State bastion of Sirte during a clean-up operation during which the bodies of scores of jihadists were foundAFP
conflict photos 2016
13 December 2016: The remains of a shell are pictured outside Aleppo's historic citadelOmar Sanadiki/Reuters
Aleppo timeline
13 December 2016: Syrian pro-government forces take a selfie in the courtyard of the Umayyad mosqueGeorge Ourfalian/AFP
conflict photos 2016
14 December 2016: Syrian pro-government forces advance in the Jisr al-Haj neighbourhood during the ongoing military operation to retake remaining rebel-held areas of AleppoGeorge Ourfalian/AFP
conflict photos 2016
14 December 2016: A wounded Syrian woman from the al-Sukari neighbourhood is helped onto the back of a truck as she flees during the ongoing military operation to retake remaining rebel-held areas of AleppoGeorge Ourfalian/AFP
conflict photos 2016
19 December 2016: A Yemeni tribesman from the Popular Resistance Committee, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, fires a weapon as another rescues the body of a dead comrade in the city of Taez during clashes with Shia Houthi rebel fightersAhmad al-Basha/AFP
conflict photos 2016
19 December 2016: Civilians from the remaining rebel-held pockets of eastern Aleppo are evacuated from the embattled city by busGeorge Ourfalian/AFP
conflict photos 2016
20 December 2016: A Christian militia fighter from the Nineveh Plain Protection Units pushes a trolley carrying a rocket and some other items in a street in Qaraqosh, about 30 kilometres east of MosulJM Lopez/AFP
conflict photos 2016
20 December 2016: Syrian pro-government forces walk through Aleppo as snow delays an evacuation that would leave the army in full control of the devastated cityGeorge Ourfalian/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.