February 9, 2014 |
HOMS, Syria - The international community is lauding a United Nations-brokered deal to provide relief to Homs' long-blockaded Old City, but the aid plan is far from universally welcome in this battle-scarred and profoundly divided city. The relief effort has stirred deep animosities among many government supporters, who view it as a sellout to opposition forces - "terrorists," in official terms - hunkered down in the ruins of the Old City. "This is basically giving the terrorists food and medicine and letting them go free," said Rihab Ismael, a dairy worker who lives in the Zahra district, a sniper-plagued zone less than a mile from what remains of the rebel-controlled Old City.
January 6, 2014 |
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki urged the residents of Fallouja to expel Al Qaeda-aligned militants who seized the city last week or deal with an imminent attack by government forces to regain the Sunni Muslim stronghold, news agencies in Baghdad reported Monday. Although the statement issued by Maliki on his Shiite-led government's website appealed for troops to avoid striking civilian areas, it warned of the risks of a military onslaught and armed clash with the Sunni warriors of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
September 8, 2013 |
The Obama administration - with the backing of key Republicans in Congress - is poised to embark on a strategy that entails punitive airstrikes on Syrian government positions and stepped-up lethal aid to moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. So far, however, the Syrian opposition has been unable to win significant support from the country's ethnic and religious minorities. Without such support, the opposition is unlikely to prevail even with stepped-up U.S. assistance. Moreover, the inability of the Syrian rebels, who are almost all Sunni Muslim Arabs, to win over the country's Kurds, Alawites and Christians raises the question of whether their victory is even desirable.
August 23, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- The toll from a pair of explosions outside two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday has risen to at least 29 with hundreds wounded, authorities said. The explosions appeared to be the latest in a series of attacks that have stunned Lebanon and stoked sectarian strife in the small but strategically situated Middle East nation, which endured a ruinous 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. Tripoli has seen numerous outbreaks of violence since civil war ignited in neighboring Syria two years ago. Gun battles between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the coastal city have cost dozens of lives.
August 23, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- A pair of apparent car bombs exploded outside two mosques in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, killing at least a dozen people and injuring scores, authorities said. Local news accounts said the death toll was at least 27, with more than 300 wounded, and blamed the attacks on car bombs detonated on a day when worshipers gathered at the mosques for Friday prayers. Video from the scenes showed cars ablaze and people running through the streets in panic.
July 25, 2013 |
Some 6,000 refugees pour out of Syria every day, straining humanitarian aid resources and destabilizing the country's neighbors. Cumulatively, they already make up 10% of the population of Jordan. And there is no end in sight. Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, says the displacement of people has not risen "at such a frightening rate" since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The absolute size of the humanitarian catastrophe may not yet match the largest of recent times, such as the 2010 floods in Pakistan, but Syria is working hard to catch up. Moreover, its political effects are potentially far greater than those of any tsunami or earthquake.