The Middle East Channel

Syria's refugees from terror

The northern Lebanese village of Wadi Khaled is so close to Syria that its residents can hear gunfire from across the border as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad attempts to put down a persistent revolt from his long-oppressed citizens. And as violence in nearby Syrian cities of Tal Kalakh and Homs has worsened, it has also been a refuge for fleeing Syrians.

According to Sheikh Abdullah, a prominent religious figure in the village, Wadi Khaled has received more than 1,350 refugees from Syria in the past 10 days, most of them women and children. More are expected to arrive in the coming days. Protesters took to the streets by the thousands again on Friday, reportedly flooding the streets of Damascus, Hama, and Homs in defiance of Assad's crackdown. Human rights organizations have reported that up to 850 people have been killed so far during the uprising, while more than 10,000 have been arrested.

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MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images

The Middle East Channel

Too big to fail?

If you're a bit confused about U.S. President Barack Obama's passivity in the face of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brutal repression of domestic opposition, don't be. Syria isn't Libya. The Assad regime is just too consequential to risk undermining.

Although the fall of the House of Assad might actually benefit U.S. interests, the president isn't going to encourage it. For realists in the White House, Assad's demise carries more risks than opportunities.

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LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images