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Omar suffers from a growth hormone deficiency, the result of a dysfunctional pituitary gland, and as a result is trapped in a tiny body. He looks around five but is actually seven-years-old.

He and his family fled Syria two years ago after the revolution began and government forces started shelling his hometown of Idlib. There he was receiving regular hormone and vitamin treatment to help him grow. But in Tripoli, northern Lebanon where his family took refuge, the treatment is too expensive even for aid organizations to cover.

Omar attends a “second shift” school for refugees, where French is his favorite subject.

When asked about his memories of Syria, he says: “I remember when my uncle Ahmed was killed, he was hit with three bullets. One in his leg, one in his back, one in his shoulder. Then a lot of blood came out.”

There is hope for young Omar. He and his family are now being considered for resettlement in Europe, where his treatment can be paid for in full.

(Photos: A McConnell / UNHCR)

Lebanese library burned, loses more than 50,000 books

Tens of thousands of books were lost to fire when a library in Lebanon was set ablaze.

Officials said unknown arsonists torched Tripoli’s Saeh Library, or Traveler’s Library, Friday after claims that its founder, Father Ibrahim Sarouja, a Greek Orthodox priest, had written an anti-Islamic online article and that anti-Islamic materials had been found in the library.

A source told Agence France-Presse that the reports were unfounded; a protest against the priest had been planned and called off — and then the fire followed.

Sarouja founded the library in 1972. It moved to Tripoli’s Serail neighborhood a decade later; photographs of the library before the fire show an ancient building full of shelves of books. It is estimated that the fire claimed two-thirds of its 80,000 books.

I’m making my frowniest face.

We finally have the opportunity to make change. Help Restock the shelves of the Al Saeh Library, Lebanon’s 2nd Largest Library in an effort to spread a message of peace and education through this book drive! We dream of being able to make a difference, and now we finally can! Check out the Facebook page for more information.

If you live anywhere in the United States, Canada or Lebanon, please contact us to set up a drop off location for the books in your area. If you would like to represent your area, let us know by e-mailing alsaehbookdrive@gmail.com 

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Lebanon’s Illegal Arms Dealers

With Lebanon’s security situation worsening every day, business is booming for the country’s illegal arms dealers. With a porous border with Syria next door and vast stockpiles of weapons left over from the country’s civil war, anyone with enough cash can buy any weapon they want, no questions asked - so VICE News went window shopping to see what’s availableG

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Yes, that’s Libya

Beautiful beaches? Check. Interesting cultural and historical sites? Check. Astonishing natural landscape? Check. All these ingredients for an amazing vacation can be found in a place you might least expect: Libya.

The U.S. Department of State currently has a travel advisory for Libya, warning against any travel to areas outside of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. Many places in Libya are highly unsafe now, especially those areas outside of the control of the central government and plagued by the activities of warring militias. So it might not be time to pack your bags yet.

14 beautiful sights of Libya

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