On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog.
This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts complex in the city, moving toward the denser warren of the Old City. The jihadists are fighting for every inch of ground.
Further west, the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in cutting the last road from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa to its stronghold in Deir al-Zor.