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Geopolitics

From Beirut To Baghdad, Syria's Spillover Is Redrawing The Middle East

The Syrian conflict and the surrounding chaos are allowing al-Qaeda to reinforce its presence in the region, starting with Iraq and Lebanon.

Atmah, a former ISIL stronghold and a crossing point for trafficking
Atmah, a former ISIL stronghold and a crossing point for trafficking
Benjamin Barthe

In Syria, there is now a war within the war.

After months of latent clashes (and a common enemy), anti-Assad rebels and al-Qaeda militiamen have entered into open conflict. Shocked by the abuses committed by the extremist Islamists in zones under their control, and fearing the increasing power they have over the insurrection, the major Syrian armed rebel groups launched a series of attacks Jan. 3 against positions on Da’ish, the Arabic acronym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — the incarnation of al-Qaeda in the Middle East.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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