Adonis Diaries

Syria city of Edleb by Turkish border: 10 checkpoints on a 70-mile stretch…

Posted on: May 3, 2012

Syria city of Edleb by Turkish border: 10 checkpoints on a 70-mile stretch…

Two weeks ago, I was walking in the neighborhood and was stopped by Syrian workers riding in a car.  They wanted to know whether I have any idea of the availability of rooms to rent. They were thinking of living 6 of them in a room, just to have a roof over their head since they are working in construction…The wages of Syrian workers in Lebanon decreased because there is more offer than demand, and because daily wages in Syria is reaching less than $3…

There are more than 30,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon since the Syrian uprising started, mainly located in north Lebanon (Akkar district) and in the Bekaa Valley.  There are over 100,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian borders, and about 40,000 on the Turkish borders…

I asked one of the Syrians: “From where are you?” He was from the city of Edleb in the north, one mile away from the Turkish border…and they were returning to Lebanon after a visit to their hometown. I said: “What! You went to Edleb as it is bombarded by the Syrian army?”

Two of the workers were from Edleb and they told me that there are 10 checkpoints on a 70-mile stretch, starting from the border of the district of Edleb to their main city of Edleb… The Syrian army is maintaining strong strategic positions outside Edleb city-limit.

You have to first reach the port city of Latakieh, passing by Tartus and Banias and drive north-east toward Aleppo before you get to the Edleb province.  Ironically, there are no checkpoints until you reach the Edleb district border. I guess many checkpoints are set up toward the hot resistance cities of Homs, Hama, and Daraa…

By the way, the province of Edleb is the size of the State of Israel and more twice the size of Lebanon (10,250 sq.kilometer)

I recall that, even three years after the Syrian troops vacated Lebanon in 2005, the Lebanese army kept strategic strong points with tanks and canon…in many key districts in Lebanon…

I guess that the Syrian people are in for many years of seeing many army positions and checkpoints, even after Syria political situation stabilizes…

I visited Syria in 1973 and vast modern highways were crisscrossing the country. The highway between Latakieh and Aleppo is straight like an arrow, and you may set the cruise control and get a 40-minutes nap.

The problem in Syria is not lack of food, but variety. You go to a restaurant and hotels and your choices are chicken, chicken and rice, non tasty humus, bread, and a few varieties of vegetables…and this in the land of bounty! Things must be even harder with all the financial and economical embargo, meant to drive the Syrian people miserable.  Sort of pushing misery to win the revolution, and then the armed revolution to drive the people back to misery…

And you thought that misery is misery and cannot sustain sophisticated taxonomy of differentiating among them…But you discover there is a misery “with dignity” (Tunisia, Egypt, Iran), misery under absolute obscurantist monarchies (Saudi Arabia) with no freedom of expression whatsoever, misery under absolute monarchies with nominal constitutions (Morocco, Jordan) with successive demoting of Prime Ministers, misery under oil rich oligarchies (the Arab Gulf States) where you don’t have the right to vote since you pay no taxes, misery in pseudo muti-theocratic State with unlimited freedom of opinion (Lebanon), misery under tribal political structures (Libya, Yemen)…

You have this peninsula named Qatar with barely 300,000 “citizens” and four fold that number in foreign immigrants put to work as slaves in order to “maintain” the life-style of the Emirs…You hardly stumble on any Qatari “citizen” to ask his opinion: They are nowhere to be seen…And yet, the Emir of Qatar thinks that he has the rights to disseminate his brand of “democracy and freedom of speech”, which do not exist in this Gulf State, and want to impose his views on people who have thousands of years of urban culture and civilization…

All kinds of miseries that the people in the Middle-East got accustomed to: The first and basic responsibility of questioning authority figures are not even in the list of people entitlements.

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