2017 IN PHOTOS: Most Striking Images From the Middle East

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A boy rides his bike past destroyed cars and houses in a neighborhood recently liberated by Iraqi security forces on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, March 19, 2017.
A boy rides his bike past destroyed cars and houses in a neighborhood recently liberated by Iraqi security forces on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Felipe Dana

In 2017 the Islamic State group was driven from its last strongholds in Iraq and Syria at an enormous cost, Pakistanis broke their silence to speak about sexual abuse in Islamic schools, and the U.S. declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel ignited widespread protests.

Associated Press photographers across the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan documented war and unrest from the front lines of the region’s conflicts, including in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Iranian-allied rebels and where its blockade on the Arab world’s poorest country has crippled infrastructure and given rise to a cholera epidemic.

The array of forces lined up against ISIS finally drove the group from the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of its self-styled caliphate, and Mosul in northern Iraq, the largest city ever held by the extremists.

ISIS no longer holds any significant territory in either country, but affiliates elsewhere in the region, particularly in Egypt and Afghanistan, continue to sow mayhem, and IS still inspires radicals elsewhere, such as the Bangladeshi immigrant who set off an explosive device in New York City’s subway system earlier this month.

Syria’s civil war is meanwhile far from over, though de-escalation agreements brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran have largely frozen the battle lines and reduced violence in much of the country.

In Pakistan, an AP investigation found pervasive sexual abuse in the country’s Islamic schools, which educate some 2 million students. Families had long remained silent, fearing the country’s powerful religious establishment. Courts often allow accused clerics to settle allegations by paying “blood money” to the families of victims.

In Washington, meanwhile, President Donald Trump broke with decades of American foreign policy by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and vowing to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. The move was met with near-worldwide condemnation, including from close U.S. allies, who warned it could deal a final blow to long-stalled peace efforts. Israel considers the entire city its unified capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The following is a selection of some of the best AP images from yet another tumultuous year in the Middle East, curated by Middle East Regional Photo Editor Maya Alleruzzo.

A youth stands on a rock as waves crash on the Mediterranean Sea shore during cold, stormy weather in Gaza City, Nov. 21, 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Adel Hana
A Pakistani Sailor stands guard at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan during a parade to celebrate the 70th Independence Day in Karachi, Pakistan, Aug. 14, 2017.Credit: AP Photo/Shakil Adil
Men swimming during an early morning swim in the Mediterranean sea in cool temperatures of 8 degrees celsius, 46.4 Fahrenheit, across Beirut, Lebanon, Feb. 16, 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
A man pushes two children in a wheelchair as they flee heavy fighting between Islamic State militants and Iraqi special forces in Mosul, Iraq, May 10, 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo
A journalist walks under the lights coming through of the dome at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 6, 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
Iraqi civilians fleeing walk past the destroyed al-Nuri mosque as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, July 4, 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Felipe Dana
A water bottle painted with a face to represent an Islamic State fighter, left by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters on a window sill, on the front line, Raqqa city, Syria, July 27 2017.Credit: AP Photo/Hussein Malla
A Palestinian man reads verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book, during the month of Ramadan at Al Emari mosque in Gaza City, May 29, 2017.Credit: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa
Hezbollah supporters listen to the story of Imam Hussein during activities to mark the ninth of Ashura, a 10-day ritual commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, Beirut, Lebanon, Sept. 30, 2017.Credit: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

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