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U.N. Security Council

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(AP) Fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and members of the Free Syrian Army continue in Syria. The U.N. estimates that Syria’s crackdown has killed more than 7,500 people so far. The killings add to the pressure on U.N. Security Council members who are meeting to decide what to do next to stop [...]

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A European Union official said today harsher sanctions may be imposed on Syria as the 11-month-old uprising against the country’s regime led by President Bashar al-Assad continues even as Russia now tries to promote talks between the two sides. The United Nations has reported that more than 5,000 people have been killed since the conflict began. Hundreds have been reported killed since this past weekend in the city of Homs alone. Collected here are images from the last few days from inside the country. -- Lloyd Young (Editor’s note: Due to the exclusion of news organizations, which limits images coming from Syria, many of the images available to the public are handout images provided to the wire service agencies.) (24 photos total)
A Syrian rebel fighter aims during an exchange of fire with army troops, unseen. in Idlib, Syria on Feb. 8. The European Union will impose harsher sanctions on Syria, a senior EU official said Wednesday, as Russia tried to broker talks between the vice president and the opposition to calm violence. Activists reported at least 50 killed in the regime's siege of the restive city of Homs. (Associated Press)

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Photojournalist Uriel Sinai has been covering the West Bank for Getty Images. He’s spent time documenting the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad, Migron and Beit Horon among others.

The photographs show the sometimes peaceful, other times turbulent nature of the West Bank where life between the Israeli’s and Palestinians often clash.

Jewish Settler Yehoda Shimon and his wife Ilana spend the afternoon with their children at their home at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will formally submit the application for Palestinian statehood to the 66th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 20th. The Palestinian bid arises from two decades of on-and-off peace talks that have failed to produce a deal.

 Life in the West Bank

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A Jewish bride prays ahead of her wedding near the Jewish Settlement of Migron in the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally submitted the application for Palestinian statehood to the 66th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23rd. The Palestinian bid arises from two decades of on-and-off peace talks that have failed to produce a deal. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men are seen as they arrive at the tomb of the biblical Matriarch Rachel in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. As little as one hundred years ago the tomb was a small isolated building on the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem while today it is inside a heavily secured Israeli army enclave on a road that penetrates deep into the Palestinian town. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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The Israeli separation barrier is seen as as it surrounds the tomb of the biblical Matriarch Rachel in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Jewish Settler Yehoda Shimon and his wife Ilana spend the afternoon with their children at their home at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A settler boy plays with goats at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Jewish settler children spend the afternoon at their home at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will formally submit the application for Palestinian statehood to the 66th United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A boy plays outside his home on July 26, 2011 at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Jewish Settler Ilana Shimon and her children play outside their home at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Jewish Settler children play outside their home at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A Jewish Settler and her son at their home at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. The Palestinian bid arises from two decades of on-and-off peace talks that have failed to produce a deal. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Jewish Settler children play at the Jewish Settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Jewish Settler, Yehoda Cohen from Havat Gilad swims with his son in a pool on August 13, 2011 near the Jewish Settlement of Har Bracha, West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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An Israeli soldier flashes the victory sign as the Israeli army secures and area at the Tapuach Junction north of the Palestinian town Nablus in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A Palestinian man shepherds his goats near the Tapuach Junction north of the Palestinian town Nablus in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Israeli children play at the Juwish settelmnt of Shvot Rachel in the West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Guests celebrate during a Jewish wedding near the Jewish Settlement of Migron in the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will formally submit the application for Palestinian statehood to the 66th United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A Palestinian man rests after crossing from the West Bank town of Qalqilya to work in the Jewish state in the early morning near the Israeli army's checkpoint at Kibbutz Eyal in central Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Palestinians stand beneath flags decorating a main a round-about in Ramallah, West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly told United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon September 19, that he will seek full membership for a Palestinian state during the UN General Assembly this week in New York. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Palestinians stand in line for an ATM in Ramallah, West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A Palestinian soldier stands behind the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly told United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon September 19, that he will seek full membership for a Palestinian state during the UN General Assembly this week in New York. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Israeli children wave Israeli flags as settlers participate in a protest march against Palestinian statehood from the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar to the Palestinians town of Nablus, West Bank.(Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Soldiers stand guard as Israeli settlers with Israeli flags participate in a protest march against Palestinian statehood from the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar to the Palestinians town of Nablus, West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he plans to apply for full membership for a Palestinian state after he speaks at the UN General Assembly this Friday in New York City. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Israeli children sit next to an Israeli army post as Israeli settlers participate in a protest march against Palestinian statehood. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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A man carries his son as Israeli settlers participate in a protest march against Palestinian statehood. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Thousands of Palestinians attend in support the Palestinian bid for recognition of statehood at the United Nations in Ramallah, West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to submit a letter to the U.N. Security Council to petition for statehood during the UN General Assembly. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 Life in the West Bank

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Palestinians attend a demonstration in support the Palestinian bid for recognition of statehood at the United Nations in Ramallah, West Bank. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

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This week, the world’s attention centers on the United Nations in New York where, following months of build-up, the Palestinians have brought their case for statehood to the U.N. Security Council. Given the certainty of a U.S. veto, the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition will be stillborn. What follows after this high-profile diplomatic “showdown” is anybody’s guess, but there’s little cause for optimism. Co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians in the bitterly contested Holy Land grows ever more fraught. Seeking to break through barriers, Israeli photographer Natan Dvir decided to cast his lens on the others in his midst — the largely marginalized Israeli Arabs, who comprise nearly a fifth of Israel’s total population. Dvir sums up their plight:

“They are living as a minority in a Jewish country at war with people [the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza] they see as allies or even brothers… Many see themselves as being discriminated against and are hoping for a change that would allow them and the rest of the Arab population in Israel an equal position in society.”

Yet that prospect seems remote, especially now under the watch of a particularly right-wing Israeli government. The Arab and Jewish communities, says Dvir, have been drifting apart over the years, pointing to surveys that now suggest nearly half the Israeli Jewish population would not object to Israeli Arabs being deprived of some of their civil rights. A loyalty oath to Israel as a “Jewish” state further polarized feelings.

Sensing their alienation, Dvir went around photographing Israeli Arabs —in particular, Israeli Arabs all of a certain age. Eighteen is a project not just about youth, but about what it means to grow into adulthood in some of the most politically-charged and challenging circumstances possible. As Dvir points out, the age of 18 is the moment of real separation between Jewish and Arab Israelis; most of the Jews leave for military service, most of the Arabs stay put.

Dvir’s pictures of Israeli Arabs move from intimate portraits to scenes of quotidian ennui to glimpses of the grim, bleak desolation that can shape the collective psyche of an embittered community. Throughout, the photos convey a kind of unvarnished, human normalcy. For fellow Israelis, says Dvir,  he hopes his project “is a point of contact serving as an invitation. A project aimed at reconciliation through understanding and respect. If I, a Jewish Israeli man, have been accepted and was allowed into my subjects’ lives – so can others.”

Ishaan Tharoor is a writer-reporter for TIME and editor of Global Spin. You can find him on Twitter at ishaantharoor. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIMEWorld .

Natan Dvir is a photographer who shares his time between New York and Israel. Eighteen has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Israel. To see more of Dvir’s work visit his website.

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All it takes are two groups of people, one to gather and one to march past them. Parades took place across the globe these past two months for a variety of celebrations, from shows of military power, to tributes to organized labor, to pride for one’s country or culture. -- Lloyd Young (37 photos total)
Performers dance in the street parade at the annual Notting Hill Carnival in central London Aug. 29.. Revelers flocked to west London for one of Europe's biggest street parties, with record numbers of police on duty to prevent a repetition of riots that shook the British capital three weeks ago. Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture that usually draws about 1 million people for a colorful procession of musicians and performers. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

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Updated 12:47 pm EDT.

The Syrian navy is a pissant, 4th-rate force, incapable of even slowing down any half-decent fleet. A foe would have to be virtually unarmed for Syria’s rusting warships to threaten it. Which means the fleet still does have some purpose for the Assad regime: terrorizing its own people.

On Sunday, just before dawn, Syrian warships joined tanks and paramilitary forces in an assault on the seaside town of Latakia. At least 25 people were killed.

“The offensive started at 5 a.m. and has not ceased for a second,” one activist told the Los Angeles Times. “The gunfire is so arbitrary. Entire buildings are being shelled with heavy artillery. The bodies stay on the streets because we are unable to leave our home and get them… The smell of death is around us.”

In May, NATO sank eight of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s warships, as part of its campaign there to defang (and, ultimately, dethrone) the regime in Tripoli. The Western response to the ongoing repression in Syria has been relatively muted, in contrast, offering little more than a “crescendo of condemnation,” as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it. But the Syrian government’s use of heavy weaponry may change things, the Times notes, just as attacks by Libyan warplanes and gunboats prompted NATO to intervene. The U.N. Security Council is set to discuss Syria this week.

The Syrian navy has “progressively eroded over the years, reflecting the country’s poor economic situation and the limited funding allocated to maritime forces,” according to Jane’s World Navies. Syria has a single working frigate, a Petya III-class ship produced by the Soviets in the mid-1970s that’s “obsolete and nearly non-operational.” Damascus also has sixteen Osa-class missile boats that “lack advanced technology and their armament is quite old.”

These aging missiles may have just been fired inwards. Osas were the kind of ships that Gadhafi used to attack protesters earlier this year. At least half a dozen of them are based in Latakia. So they might have been used to strike Syria’s activists, as well.

The ships’ lack of tech may have made their attacks even more terrifying, says Matthew Gillis of Canada’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies. “Since WWII, accurate naval gunfire support has become sort of a specialized capability which I wouldn’t bet the Syrian navy really possesses,” he e-mails Danger Room. “The disturbing thing about this is that delivering precise, indirect fire against large mobs of protesters would be reprehensible by itself. But [the] naval attacks probably constituted gunboats literally sailing up and down the shore firing indiscriminately and arbitrarily at whatever people and structures happen to be there.”

The Syrian fleet is not entirely ancient. Iran supplied the regime with a half-dozen Tir-class torpedo boats in 2006. Fast and lightly armed, they’re designed to swarm and harass ships that approach their shores. (Iran has also reportedly agreed to pay $23 million and station troops at Latakia’s airport, to coordinate further arms shipments.)

But Syria’s best naval defense may be that it has a well-armed, politically-connected friend close by. The Russian navy maintains a base in the Syrian port of Tartus (that picture of it, above, is taken from this slideshow of satellite images). Russia has not only supplied the base with modern, supersonic-capable Yakhont anti-ship missiles. But any attack on Syrian ships harbored at Tartus risks hitting Russian vessels, too. Which is its own form of defense.

Unfortunately, Syria’s people don’t have that same kind of protection.

Photo: Google Earth

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