Update on Syria

New polls released last week show that the large majority of Americans don’t think the US should get involved with Syria- an overwhelming 68% of those polled say the US should stay out. Only 24% said the US should intervene.  Seems that John McCain’s surprise visit and his making the rounds at think tanks and political talk shows isn’t convincing anyone that ‘he knows who the good guys are’.

With the US and Russia attempting to organize talks between the opposition and Assad, the opposition is refusing to participate. George Sabra, head of the National Coalition, said that what is happening in Syria has ‘shut the door’ to any negotiations. Just last week, the rebels lost the city of Qusayr to Assad forces (which has been refreshed with fighters from Hezbollah). The rebels are refusing to come to the table until the West agrees to arm them, stating that negotiating from a weakened position is not a real negotiation, and the playing field must be level again before they will talk.

Violence from the conflict is spilling over in to Lebanon, with one person dying after  a protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Beirut. Hezbollah has sent fighters and support for the Assad government, increasing the gains made on the ground by the national forces.

Things inside the country are getting worse- the UN is currently asking for $5 billion in aid to help Syrian refugees, and predicts that almost 1 out of every two Syrians need help. 10 million people need aid, and the refugee population is expected to double to 3.45 million in the coming months. Meanwhile, foreign fighters inside Syria are taking hardline positions, recently executing a teenage boy in front of his family for ‘insulting the prophet’.


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