Middle East sees spread of Syrian violence

In the northern Jordan villages – some almost split by the border withSyria – people who have watched the flow of refugees into their country are "holding their breath".

The sentiment is the same as in the other neighbouring countries,Lebanon, Turkey, Israel and Iraq: a fear that the Syrian conflict, which has already claimed more than 100,000 lives could spill over and destabilise the wider region.

The fear is not unfounded. Already the consequences of the Syrian war are being felt beyond its borders.

Worst affected so far have been Lebanon and Iraq, which – because of their own political fragility and sectarian competitions – have already seen violence and increasing instability.

Britain has advised against all but essential travel to Lebanon, where bomb attacks in the northern city of Tripoli killed 42 people last week, and as regional tensions grow over a possible US military strike on Syria.

On Friday, Lebanon charged five men, including a Sunni Muslim cleric close to the Syrian government, over the bomb attacks on two mosques in Tripoli.

Two other men, including a Syrian military officer, were charged in absentia with placing the bombs.

In Iraq concern has been mounting for months as the violence in its neighbour – in which Sunni jihadi groups linked to those in Iraq have been participating – has escalated.

And amid fear that a US strike could have wider repercussions, Jordan, Turkey and Israel have raised their level of military readiness.

The Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad underlined the sense of fear, quoting people in the country's northern areas speaking of their concern that their country might be hit in a revenge attack and discussing whether to move to the south.
There is more.

Obama's delay of an attack against Syria prolongs the agony on all sides of the border with Syria.  Government operations are disrupted by attempts to move weapons systems out of the line of fire from US attacks.  Neighboring countries are also having to extend their alerts.


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