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How Did It Come to This?
A good introduction would be Roger Ford's Eden to Armageddon: World War I in the Middle East.
For a closer look at the workings of Syria you might try The Truth About Syria by Barry Rubin.
To get a glimpse of who the people are and how they normally live, it might be a good idea to turn to some children's books. We have two from the Enchantment of the World series that might fit the bill. There's Libya by Terri Willis and Syria by Coleman South.
Current, Breaking Info
In both cases you can either read the news online or listen and watch streaming programs.
Both of these countries are liable to be in the news and on our minds for many months to come.
Joe Toschik is a librarian at the Half Moon Bay Library.