Saturday, July 22, 2006
Aid trucks stuck at border
At the duty-free zone on the Syria-Lebanon border, the Dunkin' Donuts is deserted. No donuts, no muffins, no coffee -- not even a single employee.

I ask the Syrian cashier operating the shawarma/Turkish coffee shop nearby what happened.

"The food was all imported from Lebanon," he told me. "We don't even know what happened to the workers. We haven't seen or heard from then since the war began."

He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "That's life, madam, now stop wasting my time and order something."

The fact that roads linking Lebanon and Syria are either closed or too dangerous to navigate isn't just affecting this small Dunkin' Donuts stand. It's delaying crucial aid shipments into Lebanon from Syria.

The Red Crescent tells us more than 20 trucks filled with food are stuck at the border, waiting to drive in. Several truckloads of medicine made it through a few days ago, but food aid is still stuck at the border, with drivers twiddling their thumbs waiting for the go-ahead.

NGOs also tell us that medicine for long-term diseases normally imported into Syria from Lebanon could soon be in short supply. Will this short-term problem turn into a longer-term crisis? How long the fighting across the Syrian border drags on will determine that.
Posted By Hala Gorani, CNN Correspondent: 1:30 PM ET
This blog really got my mind to thinking about all those little things. Like where your restaurant supplies come from, where your medical supplies come from, where your foods come from. Translate that to here in the States or Cananda. Imagine if our individual states or provinces were at war with each other. How long could our individual state survive without "importing" things from other states? Florida may be tired of eating oranges while North Dakota would have no chance at receiving oranges. Thanks Anderson and CNN for giving such thought provoking reporting.
Posted By Anonymous Annie, Nashville, TN : 1:47 PM ET
A measured response by Israel would have been justified to get Lebanon to reign in Hezbollah, like a blockade of the port. But what they have done, destroying Lebanon's infrastructure and killing many civilians is unjustified and will cause the US much continued aggravation in this region in the future. We must reexamine our unconditional support for Israel and should consider redirecting our annual $5 billion in financial, military and economic aid and loans to Israel to Lebanon for the next few years to help them rebuild.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, New York NY : 2:06 PM ET

Great story! But one quick question: What is stopping the aid from reaching Lebanon? Is it just the strict border security keeping them? Or is the border impassable? This situation gets more and more disheartening. First the world couldn't get the trapped civilians out and now we can't get much needed aid in. My heart aches for that whole region.
Posted By Anonymous M. Sargent KS, Germany : 2:24 PM ET
I find myself with a lot of mixed feelings about this war. I was all for the Israelis and their cause until I started hearing about all the innocent victims being bombarded, maimed and killed. It seems like too much of an onslaut, with non-stop bombing and missles. The innocent have no chance even of getting away from the constant attacks. Now much needed food and medicines are being kept from getting to the most innocent. What kind of war is this? I've never heard before ever of bombing hospitals and ambulances en-route. I guess its a sign of something, but what I don't know.
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Whitby, Ontario, Canada : 2:30 PM ET
They're at's the nature of the beast. While the majority of the people in Lebanon are not combatants, that is always the case when countries are at war
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Columbus, OH : 2:54 PM ET
The Lebanese brought this on themselves.
Posted By Anonymous Paul,Norman,Oklahoma : 3:38 PM ET
Hi Hala,
Excellent posting..Stay safe and thank you for the great work you do..
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton Calif. : 3:53 PM ET
All the more reason why this craziness needs to stop as soon as possible. Aid may come pouring through, but if it can't make it through the border, the people who so desperately need it will not survive. In the end, love for human life should precede pride and indignation.
Posted By Anonymous Beth, Edmonds, WA : 3:59 PM ET
It's a shame that a country like Lebanon can be held hostage in a situation that has been spiraling out of control. In a war between Hezbollah and Israel, the distinguishing lines between "the Party of God" and the Lebanese are fading rapidly. Some are already referring to this as the war between Lebanon and Israel. As the lines are blurred and as history is written, keep this in mind.
Posted By Anonymous Anon, Toronto, Canada : 5:15 PM ET
Why, in all this coverage of events in Lebanon, have I not read/heard a single mention of military preparations in Syria or Iran?
Posted By Anonymous Jehoshua Ben David, Los Angeles, CA : 5:18 PM ET
Just to mention: the reason the roads are blocked is that Israel is trying to stop Syria & Iran from supplying reinforcements to Hizbollah such as Fajr & Katusha missiles (artillery rockets shot at civilians in towns such as my home town in Israel) and Kornet-E missiles (The Russian equivalent of the Hellfire missile). Allowing these weapon supplies in would prolong the war and the suffering of civilians on both sides.
Posted By Anonymous Guy R., Haifa, Israel : 6:02 PM ET
I wish I had some brilliant, workable solution for this, but I don't. There have been wars since the beginning of time, there will be wars until time ends. So far it would appear that nothing works.

I have no idea when it was determined that medical and nourishment, were to pass through enemy lines, but I know for a fact that the rules were broken by the time the WWII came along. Not even as civilized as M.A.S.H. Those who probably have the least say in "skirmishes" such as these usually suffer the most and pay the highest price. The intended recipients cannot possibly be a threat to the warriors, it's just another way to exercise control.

In the end, as someone visits a cemetery, if they're lucky enough to even have one to visit, know one absolute. Their loved one(s) gave all for their country.


Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 6:09 PM ET
I feel for the innocent people but I am very, very troubled by some of the casual comments posted. We did not say that victims of 9/11 brought it on themselves or that is just what happens in conflict. That would be the logical extension of Paul from Oklahoma and Brian from Columbus is saying about Lebanon.

It troubles me that people forget their humanity. Terrorists win whenever they turn anyone of us into someone who can justify and rationalize death and suffering of non-combatants. Is this not the same mentality terrorists have?
Posted By Anonymous Peter, West Sacramento, CA : 1:56 PM ET
Wow. Your stories bring the story of the individual home. Good work!
Posted By Anonymous Sue NYC, NY : 10:15 AM ET
Actually i was at that border a few days ago,and was surprised at how much syrian aid there was over crescent was giving out bags of food to cars passing,and volunteers were giving out hot plates to people resting there.
Posted By Anonymous Houry,Beirut,,Lebanon : 10:26 AM ET
The reasons why the roads were bombed is not only to disallow Hezbollah from receiving weapons and aid from Iran and Syria but also to break and destroy the dignity of the Lebanese citizens.
Also, to make them suffer from lack of food and major medicine. (killing and hearting in a different way)

I also concur with Peter from California. Should we say that we brought it to ourself when 9/11 hit us?

What breaks my heart, is we only see one side of the story in this area of the world. Eventhough,we believe that we live in the most democratic country in the world.
Posted By Anonymous Hiba, Livonia, MI : 11:20 AM ET
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