Tens of thousands of Palestinians living in Syria have been uprooted since the violent government crackdown on the uprising and the ensuing battles that ensnared their communities. For around 50,000 of them, Lebanon was their only safe route out but now it seems this door is being closed on them.
Rudi Mohamed Amid gives his script one quick, last glance before he goes live. "Roj bas, Kurdistan (Good morning, Kurdistan)," he greets his audience, with the assuredness of a veteran journalist. However, hardly anyone at Ronahi, Syrian Kurds' first and only television channel, had any media experience before the war.
This month’s stunning campaign by Sunni insurgents led by the radical Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) against the mainly Shi’a government of Iraqi President Nouri Al-Maliki is stoking a growing debate here about the hierarchy of threats facing the United States in the Middle East and beyond.
With jihadists leading a Sunni uprising against Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are beginning to reverberate across the region, raising fears of contagion in divided Lebanon where a suicide bombing took place on Friday after a period of calm.
Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their home country have come up against a less than accommodating “Fortress Europe”.
The war in Syria has brought back to the forefront the concept of ‘jihad’, with tens of thousands of fighters currently waging what they believe to be a religious war there.
Roughly three kilometres north of Beirut's Syrian embassy in Baabda, Syrians crammed in one of an endless stream of buses, exited and continued on foot. The masses opted to walk the remaining few kilometres rather than sit in a traffic jam generated by the tens of thousands flocking to vote.
A supertanker sails a long way, they say, between the time the helmsman sets a new course and the moment when the vessel fully responds.
The United Nations has reached a virtual dead end trying to resolve the civil war in Syria - primarily as a result of the stalemate in peace talks and the continued deadlock in the Security Council.
In the mountains east of the coastal port of government-held Latakia, three years of regime bombardment has left swaths of blackened stumps in the mountain forests and crumbling concrete structures in Sunni villages, most of whose inhabitants support opposition forces.
The Middle East’s seemingly endless conflicts are diverting attention and resources from a graver long-term threat that looms over the whole region: the growing scarcity of water. And the situation will get worse before it gets better — if it ever does get better.
As once-eliminated diseases resurface and barrel bombs and alleged chlorine attacks target civilians, doctors in rebel-held areas and across the border struggle with issues of how best to serve their profession.
“We all know that Ankara and Erbil have a joint plan to evacuate the entire region," Abdurrahman Hemo, head of the Kurdish Humanitarian Aid Committee tells IPS. "They want to choke the people here until they flee en masse."
Since November last year, Bulgaria has virtually closed its borders to an inflow of Syrian asylum seekers and other migrants trying to enter the country from Turkey, while EU institutions concerned appear to have acquiesced to this.
On a weekday afternoon, the Old City of Damascus heaves with people, cars, motorcycles, bikes. Markets are crowded with locals bartering with merchants for the heaps of spices, flowery perfumes, clothing, and most things one needs, abundant in the Hamidiyah market.