There was never anything particularly remarkable about this northern town of 25,000. However, today it has become the lab for one the most pioneering political experiments ever conducted in the entire Middle East region.
Gaunt, haggard Syrian children begging and selling gum have become a fixture in streets of the Lebanese capital; having fled the ongoing conflict, they continue to be stalked by its effects.
For just that moment, the refugees in Yarmouk camp in Damascus made news. After months of facing starvation and death in the shadows of the Syrian civil war came packets of food and aid in January - with cameras in tow.
As the United States prepares to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles on military targets inside Syria, Syrians are preparing for a new phase of the conflict that has already left more than 100,000 people dead.
It was nine in the morning when the shell landed in front of nine-year-old Hella al-Abtah's house in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. Hella survived the initial blast but was critically wounded in the head, and her father rushed her to the Palestine Hospital, blood pouring from the laceration.