Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Syria Spillover Violence in Lebanon Raises Alarms

Jamie Dettmer
VOA News
October 29, 2013

Lebanon’s army is trying to quell deadly clashes between Lebanese supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. One soldier died yesterday (Oct 28) and several were wounded in the northern city of Tripoli as army units deployed in a bid to curb a week of fighting between warring sectarian neighborhoods.

The seven days of clashes in Lebanon’s second largest city have left at least 17 dead and more than 100 wounded, say government officials. The fighting is prompting worries once again that spillover violence from the civil war raging in neighboring Syria will trigger widespread sectarian conflict in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Miqati sought to reassure Lebanese on Tuesday (Oct. 29) saying the country’s security forces have received “clear orders to restore calm and impose security in Tripoli.”

The fighting the past week between residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh, an Alawi neighborhood that supports Assad, and Sunni Muslims in the district of Jabal Mohsen is the worst Syrian-related gun battle seen in Lebanon in weeks.

The adjacent neighborhoods have had a long history of conflict that stretches back to the 1975 Lebanese civil war.

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