An Arabic seal from Jordan and an antique Syrian marquetry and mother-of-pearl table at our home.
Update Aug. 30th: BBC's Panorama team filmed the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack, which left a group of schoolchildren in Northern Syria burned and traumatized "like the walking dead." Local residents reported a Syrian Army jet (Assad's militia) circling the area, before targeting the schoolyard. This is a war crime, no matter one's political persuasion. Alas, there are many such appalling and unconscionable instances of Assad's disregard for his own people. Please take a few moments to watch the BBC report.
Thinking of the people of Syria, who continue to suffer unimaginable sorrows and hardships. Over the past two years, Bashar al-Assad and his army have killed 100,000 civilians* and destroyed many of the country's historic cities, infrastructure and ancient architecture. More than two million people (half of them children) have fled Syria and its violence, while fighters of various suspect allegiances have joined Syrian rebel forces.
Last week, rockets containing poisonous nerve agents - whether ordered by Assad and his brother Maher or by rogue rebels - killed or sickened hundreds of people, including small children and babies. Medicins sans Frontieres doctors and local medics report treating hundreds for poison gas symptoms and numerous medical reports, photos and videos of the sick and dead have emerged. On Monday, snipers shot at a convoy of UN chemical weapons inspectors, en route to collect evidence of the gas attack (at least the limited evidence the Assad government will allow them to investigate).
Bashar al-Assad - once considered a moderate - has shown he's determined to cling to power, even at the grave expense of his country. Even Hafez al-Assad - a shrewd and often divisive leader - would be appalled at his son's human rights abuses and unconscionable actions against the Syrian people. Meanwhile, violence continues to spill over the borders to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.
Please take a few minutes to watch journalist Ban Barkawi's excellent documentary about how Syrians in the United Nations Relief Works Agency's (UNRWA) Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan are trying to earn a living. Jordan is host to nearly a half million Syrian refugees, more than 100,000 living in Zaatari.
George Packer: Two minds on Syria in the New Yorker.
The latest developments on Syria and the Assad regime's denials (despite evidence to the contrary) are updated in the Guardian.
The usual war-mongers anticipate a military strike. And today the Arab League called for the Assad regime to be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. According to Reuters, the Arab League also urged the UN Security Council to "overcome the differences among its members by taking the necessary...resolutions against the perpetrators of this crime, for which the Syrian regime bears responsibility and to end the violations and crimes of genocide that the Syrian regime has been carrying out for over two years."
*United Nations estimate