Now that the world attention is looking at the whereabouts of Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former National Security Agency contractor accused of espionage by the US after revealing data about secret programs of surveillance on phones and the Internet, it seems that news about Syria are not so urgent as before. They are. More than ever.
When there is some long conflict and a big event or another big news jump to the first place and takes everybody’s attention away, the conflict tend to worsen.
This is happening in Syria. The war is in progress, with violent fights in Damascus and above all Aleppo, where the government forces want to retake the center of the city. There are fears of heavy casualties there. And the spreading of the conflict to Lebanon is worse than ever: During these last two days there have been violent clashes with at least 38 killed in the Mediterranean port of Sidon.
The clashes erupted between the army and armed supporters of the local Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed Al Assir, who has accused the Army of backing the interests of the Shia Muslim group Hezbollah, allied with Syria’s president Al Assad. At least 18 soldiers and 20 gunmen had been killed, according security sources. If confirmed, that would make it one of the deadliest outbreaks in Lebanon since Syria’s two-year conflict began, said Reuters.
“We affirm to all Lebanese that the army is determined to eradicate strife, and will not halt its military operations until security is completely restored to the city,” the army said in a statement.
Violence related with the war in Syria had happened before in Lebanon in the Northern city of Tripoli and in the Eastern border valleys but this clashes far away from the border are, if possible, more dangerous for the country’s fragile stability.
The situation in Lebanon makes more urgent to negotiate a cease-fire and convene the sides in a peace conference, but this conference, already proposed, has being delayed from last May to July and now they are talking of August. All because the sides in conflict ask for incompatible conditions. The rebels only would go to negotiate the exit of the regime of Al Assad, and the regime of Al Assad only would go not to hand over power but to form a national government.
The problem is that the more time passes without stopping the fight and without talks, more people are dying in Syria, more radicalized fighting groups appear in the rebel side and biggest is the risk of a disaster in Lebanon.