This Is What the World’s Bloodiest War Looks Like #3
A photo a day from the Syrian civil war
Thirty months. More than 100,000 dead. Millions displaced. The Syrian civil war is by far the bloodiest war in all the world today—and it could only get worse as the political, economic, humanitarian and sectarian crises it has spawned spill into neighboring countries.
On Aug. 23 a massive bomb exploded at the Sunni Al Taqwa mosque in Tripoli, a city in northern Lebanon. Forty-two people died. Al Taqwa is not far from Bab Al Tabaneh, a Sunni stronghold that abuts Jabal Mohsen, a small hilltop Alawite community whose members have roots in Syria.
Both neighborhoods are protected by heavily-armed militias, and hundreds of people have died in their skirmishes over the years. The outbreak of war in Syria, also pitting Sunni against Alawites, has only heightened tensions in Tripoli. When the Al Taqwa bomb exploded, Bab Al Tabaneh’s fighters assumed—probably correctly—that Syrian agents were behind the blast.
Sunni militia commanders, including 49-year-old Ghazi Haroux, were primed to launch a massive reprisal attack on Jabal Mohsen when the city’s sheiks ordered the troops to stand down. Bab Al Tabaneh’s revenge could have been the trigger for a wider war. No one wanted to fight the Syria civil war in Lebanon.
We met and photographed Haroux in his office in Bab Al Tabaneh. On the wall hung a photo dating from 1986, depicting Haroux as a curly-haired young rebel fighting Syrian occupying forces in Lebanon. He had battled the Syrians all his life. But he would not fight them that day in August, no matter how badly Syria might have wanted it.
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