Lebanese gather at a public beach in Beirut on Aug. 2. Lax governance has allowed developers to turn much of the coastline into private clubs, leaving a dwindling number of public beaches along the Mediterranean. Jamal Saidi/Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Jamal Saidi/Reuters /Landov

Members of the Syrian band Khebez Dawle include (from left to right) Hekmat Qassar on guitar and keyboards, lead guitarist Bashar Darwish, bassist Muhammad Bazz and lead singer Anas Maghrebi. Half the band members are now in Turkey, and are strongly considering seeking asylum in Europe. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

A Lebanese woman covers her nose as she walks past piles of garbage on a Beirut street. Hassan Ammar/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Hassan Ammar/AP

Syrian refugees live in makeshift shelters in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, just a few miles west of the Syrian border. Jason Beaubien/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jason Beaubien/NPR

At Anise, a bar in Beirut, Lebanon, beloved local herbs like za'atar, sage and rosemary are making their way into cocktails. "We want to do something fresh in our cocktails," says co-owner Marwan Matar. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alice Fordham/NPR

Malala Yousafzai celebrated her birthday and the opening of a new school with "brave and inspiring girls of Syria" in Lebanon on Sunday. WAEL HAMZEH/EPA /LANDOV hide caption

itoggle caption WAEL HAMZEH/EPA /LANDOV

Syrian refugees carry gasoline under heavy snow fall at the a U.N.-run refugee camp of Fayda near the Bekaa Valley town of Zahle in eastern Lebanon on Jan. 7. STR/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption STR/AFP/Getty Images

A Syrian refugee child carries water in the Fayda Camp, some 25 miles east of Beirut, Lebanon, on March 10. Jerome Delay/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jerome Delay/AP

Mona, 28, narrates during a rehearsal of Antigone. "I feel that Antigone resembles me a lot," says the former resident of Damascus and mother of two. Dalia Khamissy for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dalia Khamissy for NPR

Mazen Hariz, a bartender and business student in east Beirut, says it took him seven months to grow his beard. Tim Fitzsimons for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tim Fitzsimons for NPR

Lebanon's parliament sits in Beirut's rebuilt Nejmeh Square, near the center of the city. Unlike many of Beirut's neighborhoods, the square is often mostly empty. Tim Fitzsimons/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tim Fitzsimons/NPR

Israeli troops come out of the Gaza Strip on Friday following combat operations in the territory. Israel's military is the strongest in the Middle East, but has waged a series of protracted fights in recent years without winning clear-cut victories. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images