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Iraqi Kurdish forces survey a bridge rigged with explosives by Islamic State militants, as they inspect the area in Zumar, Iraq. (AP Photo/Zana Ahmed)

Kurdish forces are claiming their biggest victory yet against Islamic State militants

Hundreds of people left flowers at a makeshift memorial in Sydney (PA)

Archbishop Fisher speaks at memorial service after two hostages killed in deadly end to Sydney siege

A woman who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar earier this year  sits with a child in Syria's northern town of Qamishli (CNS)

Francis meets patriarch and 350 bishops, priests and lay people from the Syriac Catholic Church

Only 11 per cent of those surveyed worldwide have a negative view of Pope Francis (CNS)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 12/12/14

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I wave to the faithful in Istanbul (AP)

Francis meets refugees after issuing joint declaration with Patriarch Bartholomew

ISIS fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul (CNS)

Militants have been said to be using the convent as a logistics base

Pope Francis holds an in-flight press conference on the way back from Strasbourg (Photo: CTV)

The Pope made the remark on his flight home from Strasbourg

Jordan Matson, the former US soldier who reportedly joined the fight against ISIS

ISIS stands for kidnap, murder, slavery and threats of terror – no one anywhere should support it

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako (CNS)

Patriarch compares situation in Iraq to Europe under Nazi occupation

Syrian refugees rest while cooking a meal at an informal settlement in Lebanon (CNS)

If opposing factions fight themselves to a standstill in Syria a power-sharing deal might be the result