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Waiting For Tomorrow In Lebanon

August 30, 2013

Toward the end of this week, every morning when I wake up, I feel like I could’ve overslept a bomb. It’s so strange to meet the morning with no idea what you will find when you go out on the street. Then there’s still no solid decision on the US intervention in Syria – so we watch the political maneuvering all day, following the #BREAKING by #BREAKING hashtags. Pizza, beer, cigarettes and late nights, waiting to see what will happen.

United Nations Security Council, out. Britain, out. NATO, out. France and the United States, at the ready.

The streets here are noticeably more empty. Today, there wasn’t a soul in the normally chaotic post office.  At a deserted cafe, a waitress says that people are afraid to come out. Most of the country seems to be collectively holding its breath. Of course, in Beirut, a lot of people party on, but there is definitely something in the air. It’s a perilous time for the region, and for Lebanon.

After all, the civil war in Syria is at more than Lebanon’s doorstep. Just today, a week after the deadliest bombing in Lebanon since the end of the civil war, three Lebanese and two Syrian men were charged in connection to the twin explosions in the northern city of Tripoli that killed at least 47 and injured more than 400 people. According to The Christian Science Monitor, one of the Syrian men who has been charged is allegedly a captain in a branch of Syrian intelligence.

It’s in this northern city of Tripoli where the effects of the Syrian war are felt acutely. Omar has spent spent months going back and forth to the city. He followed Sunni fighters who have been stockpiling weapons and stashing them in different secure areas as clashes continue with Alawites in nearby Jabal Mohsen. Tripoli is a city that has come to reflect the deep sectarian and ethnic divisions in the civil war in neighboring Syria. Events in Syria often trigger violence between the two sects, who strongly support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict. Both sides are heavily armed with RPGs, mortars, and heavy machine guns. The army is creating a buffer zone on the aptly named Syria Street, which serves as a front line between the battling sect.

Below are some of the photos from his photo essay.

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