Syria descends into 'chaos'
- Published: 21 Jul 2012 at 18.49
- Online news:
Syrian rebels were fighting on Saturday to wrest control of the country's border crossings as clashes spread to the city of Aleppo, the latest sign of an escalating conflict that is driving thousands to escape to neighbouring countries.
Lebanon and Iraq struggled to cope with the surge of refugees fleeing the violence. After a failed attempt at the United Nations to sanction President Bashar al-Assad’s government, the Security Council voted to remove within 30 days unarmed monitors who have been confined for weeks to their Damascus hotel rooms because of the danger.Hopes for a peaceful outcome to the crisis have evaporated, said Aram Nerguizian, a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington."What was possible nine months ago, became difficult six months ago and intractable three months ago," he said. "Now we’re heading straight toward chaos."Assad’s opposition has been battling to control three border crossings with Turkey and one with Iraq. After five days of clashes in the capital, the fighting has spread to Aleppo, Syria’s other major city.The government is resorting to more brutal tactics, with state television reporting "purging" in rebel hideouts.More than 30,000 Syrians fled to Lebanon via the Masnaa border within 48 hours, with cars backed up for a kilometre and Lebanese security officials waiving the usual paperwork requirements, the Beirut-based Daily Star reported.About 125,000 Syrians have left the country since the 18-month conflict began, and as many as 500,000 people still in Syria have been displaced from their homes, the US State Department said on July 19.In London, The Daily Telegraph reported that the Royal navy was drawing up a plan for an eventual mass evacuation of Britons from Syria and neighbouring countries as violence in the Middle Eastern nation escalates, the Daily Telegraph reported.The flotilla, which will include the helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and the amphibious ship HMS Bulwark, would probably be stationed off the coast of Cyprus but was not currently being considered for a "combat role", the newspaper said, citing an unidentified...
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