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Updates in plain English from the conflict that won't stop

Day 1,109: Spanish journalists freed as conflict threatens to spread

El Mundo's correspondent and freelance photographer had been held captive for six months.


Syrian men construct wooden frames at the site of a new refgee camp in the city of Arsal in Lebanon's Bekaa valley. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Today is Day 1,109 of the Syria conflict.

Two Spanish journalists captured by extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in September have been freed, handed over to Turkish military authorities. The Guardian reports that the El Mundo correspondent and freelance photographer had been held in the city of Raqaa, where it is believed the majority of ISIS's remaining forty-some hostages are still kept.

GlobalPost correspondent James Foley has been held captive in Syria for more than 16 months. 

In bad news, a suicide car bomb went off at a Lebanese army checkpoint near the Syrian border late yesterday, killing three soldiers and wounding four more. AFP reports the attack was claimed on Twitter by "a group calling itself Liwa Ahrar al-Sunna in Baalbek — Arabic for the Brigades of the free Sunni Muslims." They said the attack "was to avenge the death of Sami al Atrash, a suspect wanted in connection with car bombings targeting Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah."

In plain English: There's an increasingly sectarian element to the Syrian conflict, pitting Sunnis and Shiites (both Muslim) against one another. The Lebanese group Hezbollah is Shiite, and has been fighting on the side of the Syrian government (i.e. Assad) in the Syrian war. Sunnis in Lebanon, as well as the many Sunni extremists fighting on the rebel side of the Syrian war, are not happy about this. They have been retaliating against Hezbollah with bombings in many Hezbollah-dominated, Shiite areas of Lebanon. GlobalPost correspondent has reported extensively on such bombings in Atmeh, Beirut, and Hermel, talking to individuals who have become used to living with the daily threat of these attacks.

As this blog mentioned last week, Jordan's King Abdullah II has warned Lebanese fighters to get out of Syria, saying that the spillover from the conflict is threatening Lebanon's own stability.

The conflict continues.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/meanwhile-syria/day-1109-spanish-journalists-freed-conflict-threatens-sp