Editorial: Syria's cracks are spreading

 

Share
Related Topics

According to the Assad regime, Israeli warplanes have violated Syrian airspace and bombed a scientific research facility. According to Western security sources, the attack was against a convoy of sophisticated heavy weapons destined for Lebanon and Hezbollah. Israel itself is saying nothing; nor, officially, is the US. For all the obfuscation and confusion, however, what is chillingly clear is the danger of Syria’s vicious civil war spilling over into a regional conflict.

The situation inside the country is dismaying enough. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the near two years since the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad began. Although the regime’s grip is weakening, the fight only gets bloodier; and as many as four million civilians have been displaced – many of whom are now starving, freezing and dying from disease.

No less alarming are the signs of strain in Syria’s highly combustible neighbourhood. Thousands of refugees continue to pour into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Meanwhile, the first of six Nato Patriot missile batteries is now in place on Turkey’s Syrian border, with the rest soon to follow, and Israel has moved some Iron Dome defence batteries up to Haifa in the north. Both are ostensibly defensive arrangements, but neither is a recipe for peace. Nor, indeed, are the ever-greater numbers of extremists drawn to the fighting in Syria, fuelling concerns over the fate of Assad’s chemical weapons.

Alone, Israel’s air strikes are unlikely to tip the balance. The Syrian regime is under too much pressure to retaliate. Hezbollah may not respond immediately either, given that the attack was not in Lebanese territory. And on the international stage, Russia – one of Damascus’ few remaining allies – has, thankfully, restricted its condemnations to diplomatic channels. Such observations are cold comfort, though. This week’s events not only emphasise again the fragile balance of power in the region; a convoy of weapons en route to Hezbollah – if that was, indeed, the case – is an explicit attempt to upset it. The outlook is far from encouraging.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Property

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: KENT MARKET TOWN - An exciting new role has ar...

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Day In a Page

 

Careful, Mr Cameron. Don't flirt with us on tax

Chris Blackhurst
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices