At the duty-free zone on the Syria-Lebanon border, the Dunkin’ Donuts is deserted. No donuts, no muffins, no coffee — not even a single employee.
I ask the Syrian cashier operating the shawarma/Turkish coffee shop nearby what happened.
“The food was all imported from Lebanon,” he told me. “We don’t even know what happened to the workers. We haven’t seen or heard from then since the war began.”
He shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “That’s life, madam, now stop wasting my time and order something.”
The fact that roads linking Lebanon and Syria are either closed or too dangerous to navigate isn’t just affecting this small Dunkin’ Donuts stand. It’s delaying crucial aid shipments into Lebanon from Syria.
The Red Crescent tells us more than 20 trucks filled with food are stuck at the border, waiting to drive in. Several truckloads of medicine made it through a few days ago, but food aid is still stuck at the border, with drivers twiddling their thumbs waiting for the go-ahead.
NGOs also tell us that medicine for long-term diseases normally imported into Syria from Lebanon could soon be in short supply. Will this short-term problem turn into a longer-term crisis? How long the fighting across the Syrian border drags on will determine that.