Last updated: February 19. 2013 3:42PM - 91 Views

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THE TEMPORARY truce in Syria, which began Oct. 26, was a helpful if tenuous sign that there might yet be a political solution to the country's 19-month-old civil war, which has left 30,000 dead.

Though the truce was brokered by the international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, there were no arrangements for monitoring compliance. Sporadic fighting broke out and soon intensified, showing that a resolution to the conflict might still be months away.

In the meantime, the West, including Canada, could consider broadening humanitarian efforts to assist the more than 358,000 refugees from Syria who have fled to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

Lebanon itself is at risk of becoming increasingly destabilized following the assassination of the Lebanese intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan, a Sunni who stood up to the Assad regime, and who had protected many whom the Assad regime would otherwise have eliminated.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has estimated that as many as 700,000 Syrian refugees will have fled abroad by the end of the year. The global community could certainly do more to assist them. Why should Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have to host all of those seeking a safe haven?

The Globe and Mail, Toronto

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