Last updated: 5 December, 2013

Lebanese soldier killed in new Syria-related clashes

A soldier was killed Thursday as pro- and anti-Syrian regime supporters clashed in Lebanon’s second city Tripoli, breaking an army-imposed truce, a security official said.

“A soldier was killed by a bullet to the head,” the source said, not long after reporting at least six soldiers were among eight wounded during fighting in Bab al-Tebbaneh, a neighbourhood that has been at the centre of unrest for more than a year.

Later on Thursday, troops shot and wounded four armed men when they tried to encircle a barracks in Qobbe, a Sunni district about 500 metres (yards) from Bab al-Tebbaneh, an official said.

At the same time, a soldier’s house in Qobbe was set on fire, but there were no casualties.

The latest fighting comes after authorities decided on Monday to place Tripoli under army control for six months after a wave of sectarian killings linked to Syria’s war left 11 dead in the main northern city.

Residents of the Sunni district of Bab el-Tebbaneh had been locked in fighting with people in the neighbouring Alawite district of Jabal Mohsen since Saturday.

Tensions between the neighbourhoods date back to Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war but have been exacerbated by the conflict across the border in Syria, where Alawite President Bashar al-Assad is battling a Sunni-led uprising.

Thursday’s shooting broke out after a group of young men accosted a Lebanese television team filming on Syria Street, which divides the two districts.

“The army intervened, and gunfire erupted between them and the soldiers… which degenerated into shooting from both neighbourhoods and the army responding in both directions,” the security official said.