When you think of Iraq you may well think of smoky battlefields, cruise missiles, and charging tanks. Years of conflict have besieged this country, and while Iraq continues to struggle with political strife, there is much to see here other than just the scars of war. This country is one that is covered in natural beauty, such as the winding waterways of the mighty Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is often known as the Cradle of Civilization and this is a reference to its ancient Mesopotamian cities that are famed for their innovations in science, writing, literature, medicine, theology and law.

It has been 10 years since the war in Syria began. Hundreds of thousands of people have died over the past decade and tens of thousands have disappeared, their fates unknown. Russia and Iran, the US and its allies, and Turkey each back different competing groups - all of which have fought long, bitter battles to acquire the territory they hold.  The war that has engulfed Syria shows no sign of ending for good.

Although there is a shaky ceasefire in place, the country remains what a UN monitor calls a "tinderbox" - with five foreign militaries poised and ready to engage in active operations.

This is the story of one of the most violent and bloody conflicts of the 21st century.

The war in Syria has claimed more than 130,000 lives and, as these images reveal, it is also laying waste to its historic buildings and Unesco-listed sites. As the Arab Spring brought protesters into streets across the Middle East and North Africa in early 2011, some of Syria's 22 million people decided to join in. Pro-democracy demonstrations began in the southwestern city of Deraa.

It wasn't crazy at the time to imagine that President Bashar al-Assad, in power since 2000, might step beyond the brutal legacy of his father, the dictator Hafez al-Assad, to open a period of reform that created new opportunities, particularly for his country's youth.

Syria is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with a rich artistic and cultural heritage. From its ancient roots to its recent political instability and the Syrian Civil War, the country has a complex and, at times, tumultuous history.

Jordan is one of those countries that speaks to the imagination of a lot of people, yet it still slips underneath the radar a lot of times. And it truly is a shame cause Jordan is home to some of the most beautiful places in the entire world.

From the red sand dunes in Wadi Rum to the hand carved facades of Petra and the ancient ruins of Jerash. Jordan is a country that will surprise you on the most positive note every step of the way.

And this list is perfect to keep with you when you’re planning your trip. Easy to read, enough information to help you plan an itinerary but you won’t drown in all of the information!

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a small, young country located on land of ancient biblical significance. The country is one of the most liberal in the region and also has one of the smallest economies, as it lacks the natural resources enjoyed by many of its neighbors.