In northern Lebanon’s largest city, Tripoli, Syria Street cuts through neighbourhoods that back opposite sides of the war raging in Syria, 30 km away. Clashes between them resumed this weekend after a cross-border rocket attack.
Over the past year more than 50,000 Palestinian refugees have fled violence, chaos and destitution in Syria to seek sanctuary in Lebanon. The vast majority have found themselves living in dire poverty, and trapped in chronically insecure existence.
As refugees from Syria continue to pour into Lebanon, the majority of children are not going to school, spurring concern that they will become a ‘lost generation’.
As the Syrian war intensifies sectarian clashes in Lebanon’s northern coastal city Tripoli, Palestinians in the area worriedly watch the violence from the sidelines.
Married women in Lebanon who suffer abuse at home remain at the mercy of the country’s multitude of religious courts, because the hard-fought civil law against domestic violence has been stalled for a vote in parliament since the summer.
With Lebanon fraying at the seams under pressure from the neighbouring Syria conflict and the economy stuttering amid a political vacuum, more and more children are being pushed into labour.
The surprise resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Nijab Mikati eclipsed his last major manoeuvre, which was to refer to parliament a highly contentious wage scale hike for the public sector. Teachers and staff across the public sector started an open strike on Feb. 20 when then prime minister Nijab Mikati failed to send the wage scale policy - which had previously been agreed upon by the cabinet - to the parliament for vote.
The influx of hundreds of thousands of war-weary refugees from Syria to Lebanon is putting an almost unbearable strain on many of the communities that have taken them into their homes. A domestic economic crisis compounded by the arrival of such large numbers of refugees is weighing heavily on many impoverished areas.
A top United Nations official is warning that the plight of Palestinian refugees is being neglected amidst the ongoing crisis in Syria.
One couple’s modest marriage in Lebanon has catapulted them into media limelight and sparked a national debate pitting the Prime Minister against the President while eliciting stern condemnation from leading religious figures. Their union is both exceptional and controversial - it is the first civil marriage in the country.
Zuhur al-Khalaf is eight months pregnant and lives in a one-room shack in northern Lebanon with her husband and five children. The cloth walls and cardboard roof have become sodden and musty after heavy storms this past week, and two of the children are suffering from fevers and chest infections.
The assassination of Lebanon’s top security official on Friday not only ravaged a quiet Beirut neighbourhood but also shattered the precarious sense of security many Lebanese have been desperately clinging to in recent months.
A group of six men listen as voices crackle through a walkie-talkie. They are sitting in a farmhouse in the north of Lebanon less than a kilometre from the Syrian border. The sound of gunfire and shelling in the distance sporadically punctuates the atmosphere. One of the group returns to the room after taking a telephone call. “Good news from the battle,” he exclaims with a smile.
The Israeli attack seems imminent. Israeli blogger Richard Silverstein circulates a leaked "shock and awe" strategy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak hard zionism to decapitate, paralyze Iran, and New York University professor Alon Ben-Meir warns against believing that Israel is bluffing.
Every day Lebanon is being plunged further into a state of general insecurity, as chaos from the war in Syria seeps across the border.