Syria: Summer elections ensured, Yabroud captured by gov’t

A new electoral law was unanimously passed by Syria’s parliament a few days ago, opening up the election to additional candidates other than current President Bashar al-Assad.  No date has been set but the parliament stated the poll must take place between a month or a month and half before President Assad’s term ends on 17 July.

“If there is an election, then my suspicion is that the opposition … will probably not be interested in talking to the government,” United Nations’ Lakhdar Brahimi said of the electoral law passing, hinting that any kind of elections could threaten peace talks.  

The Syrian army is actively completing a “pursuit” of rebels near the border of Lebanon, taking on the Yabroud stronghold. Syrian troops and government-supporting Hezbollah from Lebanon took the area from Syrian rebels Sunday. AFP reports the regime is pushing into towns near Yabroud, including Rankus, Ras al-Maarra and Flita of Syria.

Lebanon

Lebanon dealt with a busy weekend of growing violence midst its ongoing fears of spillover from the civil war in the neighboring country of Syria. The Lebanese Hezbollah group has been active in supporting the regime’s efforts in Syria and such conflict over the civil war has spilled over.

This weekend, car bombs – both unexpected and controlled – went off in a town in the Bekaa region. It was also reported two rockets landed in that same area.  In response to this, the Lebanon army was sent to the Syrian border just as rebels fled.

Headlines

The United States named a new special Syria envoy Monday; U.S. Secretary of State announced Daniel Rubinstein would take the position to work on Syria relations and ongoing developments.

Raw sewage and flooded tents sprout up in the Bab al-Salamah refugee camp as rains hit the Syrian Aleppo province this week. The manager of the camp, Mustafa Najjar, says the refugee spot accommodates 7,000 but is currently hosting more than 16,000.

Saudi Arabia aid boost to Syria rebels could further threaten Jordan security as deliveries run through southern border of Syria alongside Jordan.

An entire generation is missing out on school in wartime Syria; the UNICEF organization reports up to 2.8 million school age children not currently receiving education.

A California man in the United States was arrested for trying to join extremists in Syria.

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