“Twin explosions rocked the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on Friday, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 80, said Lebanon’s state-run news agency. Footage aired on local TV showed thick, black smoke rising over Lebanon’s second largest city and bodies scattered beside burning cars, in scenes reminiscent of Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/16UR8RP)
Will the UN Chemical Weapons Inspection Team Be Able to Investigate Syria Attack?
That question is at the heart of international diplomacy on Syria right now. “The incident exposes the limits of the mandate of the U.N. team led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, details of which have not been fully made public. Movements of the 20-member team are limited to locations previously agreed with Assad’s government. The team is authorized to investigate only three alleged incidents, at least one of which is a case in which the government says chemicals were used by rebels, and the other two of which have not been disclosed.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/186FWwG)
Syria Reaches Grim Milestone: 1 Million Refugee Children
From UNICEF: “With Syria’s war well into its third year, the number of Syrian children forced to flee their homeland as refugees has now reached one million…Children make up half of all refugees from the Syria conflict, according to the two agencies. Most have arrived in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Increasingly, Syrians are fleeing to North Africa and Europe. Latest figures show that some 740,000 Syrian child refugees are under the age of 11.” (UNICEF http://uni.cf/19MOnnI)
Mortar Attacks Strike UN and Civilian Targets in DRC
M23 rebels are upping the ante. “Mortars from clashes between Democratic Republic of Congo’s army and M23 rebels hit United Nations peacekeeping positions and injured civilians in the eastern North Kivu province, the UN and a witness said. Fighting between the M23 and Congo’s army began yesterday and continued today in Kibati, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu, the UN mission in Congo said in an e-mailed statement. ‘Populated areas and UN positions were directly targeted by mortars and hit by indiscriminate fire.’” (Bloomberg http://bloom.bg/19MNMSU)