March 6th, 2013
02:29 PM ET

One in a million: The plight of Syria's refugees

The United Nations says more than one million Syrians are now refugees. That means nearly one out of every 22 citizens have fled for safety.

The news come as the country approaches the second anniversary of its civil war.

The U.N.'s refugee agency tweeted this picture after announcing the alarming new number. It says, "Meet Bushra, the millionth registered refugee from Syria."

The sign in her hands says, "One in a million." It's a reminder of the many, many others who share her desperate situation.

She also holds a small child. The U.N. says around half of the refugees are children. Most are under the age of eleven. It's hard to imagine the things they have seen and experienced in their young lives.

As Syria's deadly conflict grinds on, more and more people are making the difficult decision to seek shelter in another country. The UNHCR notes, "They arrive traumatized, without possessions and having lost members of their families."

The U.N. estimated there would be 1.1 million refugees by the end of June. But more than 400,000 Syrians have fled their homes since the start of 2013. And it's only March.

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Filed under: Arab Unrest • Data
January 24th, 2013
02:01 PM ET

Battling the food crisis in Syria

Ongoing violence and shelling - just one of many challenges facing the World Food Programme in Syria.

"Our food trucks have been attacked, we've seen rising number of attacks on trucks in various areas in the country," WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin tells me.

"The reality is we have conversations with everyone - the opposition side and the regime side to ensure that everyone recognizes we are not favoring one community over the other. Our goal is that we get assistance to every community."

September 11th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

Watercolors of a warzone

The medium is decidedly low-tech, and known more for depicting sunsets than civil war.

But British artist George Butler turned to watercolor to document life during wartime in Azaz, Syria.

Courtesy George Butler

His subject matter includes a child posing on a destroyed tank, a bread line outside a bakery, and a rebel-run prison - its thick bars and large metal lock in full focus.

"I felt like I was an intruder," says Butler about creating the image of the prisoners. "It's an odd feeling, to draw people you don't know... essentially in a cage, and sitting so compliantly."

Powerful images of the human conflict inside Syria have been taken by photojournalists like Robert King. But what can a water colorist capture in a war zone?

"Time lapse is a great advantage," says Butler. "The idea is not to compete with photographers, but to offer something different by sitting on the street, and getting to know what you're drawing for an hour."

The young artist advances the heritage of traditional artists working in hostile environments, such as the war artists in World War II who worked in oils or pen and ink like John Nash or Ronald Searle.

Butler says the medium is even more relevant today because it stands out from the massive trove of modern-day war video and photography now available online.

And it's true. In the era of YouTube and Bambuser, his watercolors offer an entirely new perspective of life inside Syria.

February 9th, 2012
10:59 PM ET

Syria's Cyberwar

Since media are strictly controlled by the Syrian government, the internet has played a key role in allowing opposition activists share images of alleged atrocities carried out by security forces. You can argue that a high-stakes war of information is being waged in Syrian cyberspace, and in one battle at least the hacking group Anonymous is claiming victory.

The purported emails of Syrian officials were released by the group on Sunday. (You can read and watch more about that here.) According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, the documents were easy for Anonymous to access: they were protected only by the simple password "1-2-3-4-5".

Before Bashar al-Assad was Syria's president he headed the Syrian Computer Society and pushed the country's youth to become more web-savvy. While anti-government activists seeking to oust him are using the internet as a weapon against him, he's also using that experience to his advantage.  FULL POST

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Filed under: Arab Unrest • General • Social networking • Technology
August 22nd, 2011
02:54 PM ET

Arab Unrest: The Times They Are A-Changin'

With Moammar Gadhafi's future increasingly uncertain, this photo - taken in Libya less than one year ago - is a symbol of how quickly the Middle East and North Africa has changed since the Arab unrest first took hold in January.

Colonel Gadhafi is seen posing with three of the ten major leaders of the region in 2010, and very friendly they look too. To his far left is Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, whose ousting in January began the so-called "Arab Spring". To Gadhafi's immediate left is Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was badly injured in an assassination attempt in June. He has yet to return to his country after leaving for treatment in Saudi Arabia. Then to Gadhafi's right, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who fled Cairo in February after his people staged a revolution in 18 days.

It is a fascinating snapshot of a very different time in the Middle East as the world waits to see what the future holds for Libya.

Remember, you can stay up to date with the very latest developments in Libya on the CNN.com "Just In" live blog.