Groups of children dressed as pirates, witches and clowns giggled excitedly as they moved from house to house, collecting candy and treats.
It may sound like Halloween in America, but it’s Beirut, Lebanon on Saint Barbara’s Day.
Trick-or-treating in Lebanon
Photos by Tracey Shelton/GlobalPost
6,000 Syrians have fled violence to seek refuge at the Lebanese border since Saturday, according to a United Nations spokesperson.
Syria’s army pushed rebels out of the southern town of Qara, strengthening its hold on a highway linking the capital to government strongholds along the coast, state media said on Tuesday. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive on Friday in Qara, a town which sits on the strategic route 80 km (50 miles) north of Damascus in the Qalamoun mountains.
Lebanon is keen to secure the highway as it wants to use it to transport chemical agents as part of a U.S. and Russian-backed program to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.
More photos from the past 24 hours: http://reut.rs/17InNGk
Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Unfortunately, the violence of the Syrian civil war has spilled over into Lebanon as well, with twin bombings outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Tuesday killing at least 23.
Tracey Shelton writes from Beirut:
Victims were sent to several hospitals in the area, said Wassim Wazzam, chairman and director of Rafik Hariri Hospital. His hospital took in seven dead and 25 injured. Four were undergoing emergency surgery, but he said they hoped to release the majority of the victims within the next 24 hours.
“This is the largest amount of casualties we have received in such a short period since the Israeli bombings of 2006,” when Israel and Lebanon went to war, he said. “But here in Lebanon we have seen a lot of war so this is not new to us.”
BRUSSELS, Belgium — More than 15,000 people have died in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea since the late 1990s after fleeing poverty, war and oppression in Africa, Asia and the Middle East for a better life in Europe.
Now routine, the deaths rarely make international headlines.
Campaigners complain Europeans preoccupied with their economic crisis, and fearful of migrants competing for ever-scarcer job opportunities and social security handouts, have become indifferent, even hostile, to the migrants’ plight.
The scale of Thursday’s tragedy off the Italian island of Lampedusa could change that.
Pope Francis denounced as a “disgrace” the death of up to 300 Africans after their boat caught fire and sank. Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano, who spoke of a “European tragedy,” has appealed for assistance. Newspaper headlines across the continent are demanding action.
"The tragedy of Lampedusa’s refugees shames Europe," said Spain’s El Pais. "Lampedusa: the guilt of Europe’s indifference," headlined the front page of Le Monde in France.
A European tragedy
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
Much as I miss them, I cannot live with my family anymore — my work puts them in danger… The reality is that I entered a profession that may lead to a very short life.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — When Gaza resident Nafez Nayef first heard that the United States might attack Syria — which Gazans fear will prompt a retaliatory chemical attack against neighboring Israel — he says he knew he had to get gas masks for his family right away.
But because both Israel and Egypt limit the goods that enter the Gaza Strip, a small, isolated territory on the Mediterranean, only a handful of journalists and riot police has been able to obtain masks.
So Nayef took to YouTube to figure out how to make them — convinced it was better than nothing if Syrian rockets landed near or in Gazan territory.
There was one YouTube video he preferred: a three-minute tutorial uploaded by an Al Qaeda fighter in Iraq.
“All you need is an empty, 2 liter soda bottle, paper towels, vinegar, a plastic jar and ground coal,” Nayef said.
In blockaded Gaza, making gas masks with jars and paper towels
Photo by Ahmed Aldabba/GlobalPost
GlobalPost correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky remembers Ambassador Chris Stevens:
Chris was impressive as hell. In many of the shocked, initial articles that were published when he died Chris appears as a utopian figure: the son of musicians, a young guy who served in the Peace Corps before embarking on a life-long career representing his nation in one of the most problematic parts of the world. All that is true.
He was also experienced, open-eyed and smart, with nothing green about the gills or naïve about him. He loved this region and its peoples and languages, but he was anything but guileless.
On the anniversary of Chris Stevens’ death, the region he loved is in turmoil
→ NATO calls alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria 'unacceptable' (LIVE BLOG)
Britain set to introduce resolution at United Nations Security Council “authorizing necessary measures to protect civilians” in Syria.
We’re following the latest developments in Syria, as the UN Security Council meets.
Twin car bombs hit the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Friday, while President Obama called the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria a “grave concern.”
Follow the developments on our LIVE BLOG.
60 seconds on Earth: Escaping Syria, by boat
An estimated 1.2 million Syrians now live in Lebanon. Many have fled overland, crossing the border on foot or in cars. But each week hundreds make their way by boat after crossing into Turkey. Correspondent Tracey Shelton documented the 18-hour ferry journey from Tasucu port in Turkey to Tripoli, Lebanon.