Here's a look back at some of Al Jazeera's biggest stories of 2014.

2014 on Al Jazeera

Gaza

Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza triggered a seven-week conflict that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians. The vast majority were civilians. 72 Israelis were also killed, including five civilians. Gaza is still recovering from the Israeli assault. The film, Shujayea: Massacre at Dawn, offers a devastating snapshot of how the Israeli bombardment affected one neighbourhood in eastern Gaza.

 


"The Islamic State"

The "Islamic State" originated in 1999 as Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. In its current incarnation, under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Sunni armed group has seized control of vast swaths of Iraq and Syria. It’s stated goal is the establishment of an Islamic "caliphate" in territory straddling Iraq and Syria. Over the past year, its actions have shocked the world: mass executions of hostages, including foreign journalists and aid workers. Millions have fled ISIL’s advance. A US-led military coalition is leading airstrikes to confront ISIL, while Kurdish fighters continue to fight them on the ground.


Syria's War

Syria continues its bloody descent into civil war. The conflict, which began when Bashar- al- Assad’s government used weapons against its own people to crush a popular uprising, has no end in sight. More than 200,000 people have been killed. Over half of the country’s population has now been uprooted by civil war. The United Nations has said the situation ranks as worst humanitarian crisis inrecent decades and represents a global threat to regional peace and security. The world’s response has been feeble in the face of Syria’s unfolding horror.

[Associated Press photo]


Boko Haram

In April, armed gunmen from Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in Nigeria. The girls plight captured the world’s attention, and spawned the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls which trended around the world. Nearly one year later, most of the girls are still missing. Boko Haram claims they have been sold into slavery. Meanwhile the rebel group continues to attack on churches, schools, military bases, police stations and government buildings. Thousands of people have been killed and 1.6 million driven from their homes in the five-year-old uprising to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.

[Agence France Presse photo]


Ebola

Ebola has killed more than 6,500 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea after emerging in West Africa late last year. The disease has caused widespread fear around the world, but has been especially devastating for West Africannations, which have been the hardest-hit by Ebola. More than 7,500 people have been reported to have died from the disease in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the US and Mali. The total number of reported cases of Ebola has topped 19,000.

[EPA Photo]


Migrants

A record number of migrants have made the perilious journey by boat to Europe and Australia this year. At least 65,000 people took the risk in the first half of 2014, and more than 150,000 people have landed since.

The migrants making the journey usually hail from poor or conflict ridden countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. 

[Italian Navy photo via Associated Press]


Ukraine crisis

Ukraine’s revolution in 2014 gave way to a conflict that has claimed more than 4,000 lives since April, according to UN figures. In March, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Ukraine and Western governments hold Moscow responsible for fuelling a pro-Russian rebellion in the east with troops and weapons. Repeated attempts to end the violence have failed. A ceasefire and framework peace deal announced in September has been ignored.

[Reuters photo]


Press freedoms

2014 was one of the worst years on record for press freedom. A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists recorded at least 220 journalists were in prison around the world for reporting the news. Among them are three Al Jazeera journalists: Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed. They were arrested on December 29, 2013 in Cairo amid a nationwide crackdown on the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. In June, they were sentenced to seven to ten years in prison on false charges of aiding the blacklisted group. Al Jazeera rejects these charges and demands the release of our journalists who are still behind bars.

[Associated Press photo]