Syria’s surprising solar boom: Sunlight powers the night in rebel Idlib (The New York Times)
“When the Syrian government attacked their village, Radwan al-Shimali’s family hastily threw clothes, blankets and mattresses into their truck and sped off to begin new lives as refugees, leaving behind their house, farmland and television.
Among the belongings they kept was one prized technology: the solar panel now propped up on rocks next to the tattered tent they call home in an olive grove near the village of Haranabush in northwestern Syria.” Read more
Assad supporters attacked in Lebanon as Syrians vote in presidential elections (The National)
“Thousands of Syrians flocked to the Syrian embassy in the Beirut suburb of Yarze in the early hours of Thursday carrying posters of incumbent president Bashar Al Assad and flying Syrian flags to take part in presidential elections.
‘I came to vote for President Bashar Al Assad. With my blood and my soul, I'll stand by him at every single election,’ said Abdul Rahman Hussein, a Syrian construction worker who held a Syrian flag with Mr Al Assad’s face printed in the middle, above the words ‘Syria is well.’
But during the early elections hours, convoys of cars with Mr Al Assad's posters were attacked by mobs as they drove through neighbourhoods known for their opposition to Syria.” Read more
Thousands of Syrian refugees and expats vote early in Lebanon (Al Jazeera)
“Thousands of Syrians living in Lebanon have been bussed to their country’s embassy near Beirut to cast ballots in early voting ahead of next week’s presidential election in the war-torn country.
Embassy staff and Lebanese soldiers on Thursday struggled to control the crowds, many of whom carried banners in support of incumbent President Bashar al-Assad.” Read more
My grandfather bought a home in Gaza with his savings. An Israeli airstrike destroyed it. (The New York Times)
“He was born in Gaza City in 1933 and became an orphan by his fifth birthday after both of his parents died of cancer. He was among the Nakba generation, the Palestinians who experienced the terror, loss and displacement that came with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. He was in high school. He would speak of the bullets from Israeli warplanes over Gaza, which shredded the dust between his feet.” Read more
After backing Assad, Iran and Russia compete for influence and spoils of war (The Washington Post)
“As the fighting winds down across much of Syria, President Bashar al-Assad's two main backers, Iran and Russia, have been competing for influence and the spoils of war.
Both countries have promoted their respective languages, Farsi and Russian, for instruction in Syrian schools. Both have signed contracts to construct flour mills amid a dire shortage of bread. Both are building power plants.” Read more
DIARY: In Gaza, bombs drop and the conflict again hits home (Associated Press)
“On Friday morning, a military airstrike smashed my family’s farm in the northern Gaza Strip into a jagged mass of metal and splintered trees. An Israeli bomb had slammed into the yard, carving a crater into the dirt and leaving rubble in its wake.
The conflict, once again, hit home.” Read more