With the final presidential debate having focused exclusively on foreign policy, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the Syrian Civil War.
Violence Spilling Over Into Lebanon
Tensions between Sunni Muslims and Alawites, the latter a tribe of the Assad family, has boiled over into violence in the northern city of Tripoli. On Monday fire traded between gunman ended in four dead, stoking fears that Lebanon may return to the violence of their fifteen year civil war that ended in 2000.
Lebanon has for a long time been considered a subservient ally to Syria, the larger nation having occupied much of northern Lebanon until 2005. Until the Syrian violence grew until full-scale civil war, it was considered that their military still had a presence in Lebanon despite their claims they had left.
Sporadic fighting had also spilled over into Beirut, the Lebanese capital. This is despite the Lebanese military having a major presence in the city.
A major uptick in tensions came as a result of the Syrian intelligence chief’s assassination in Beirut last week.
Preparations For Cease-Fire Continue, Though No One Thinks A Cease-Fire Will Happen
UN Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi held meetings with the Syrian foreign ministry Monday. This is the latest attempt to broker a cease-fire for the holiday Eid al-Adha, which begins Friday and continues through the weekend.
A senior Arab League official says hopes for a cease-fire are very low.
Both rebel and Syrian government spokespeople have claimed they would like to see a cease-fire, but preemptively accuse that their opponents would almost certainly break it. They refuse to give any ground in the fight for free.
Still, the United Nations are making plans to send in a peacekeeping outfit to go into Syria to enforce the cease-fire should it take hold.
Syrian Government Suspected Of Jamming News Broadcasts
The European Broadcasting Union has accused the Assad regime of jamming broadcasts by the BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America. They cite satellite operator Eutelsat as their source of information in their statement given Monday.
Eutelsat had already accused Iran of widespread and deliberate jamming of their satellite signals earlier this month, but the EBU notes they also reported “deliberate and intermittent” jamming from the Syrian government as well.
The EBU believes this is in response to Eutelsat’s compliance with European Union sanctions against Iran that resulted in 19 of their channels dropped from the satellite operator’s channel lineup.
Deliberate interference with broadcast signals is banned by the International Telecommunication Union, a UN organization that Iran and Syria have both signed on to.
Vice Shows The Human Cost Of The War
Our friends at Vice have released video they’ve taken while among the doctors and hospital staff in the midst of this civil war.
Note: The footage below is extremely graphic. NSFW. We’re not kidding. Don’t watch if you can’t stomach real war images.
Question: When are we going to learn?