AFP
Last updated: 24 October, 2013

Toll from Lebanon clashes over Syria climbs to four

At least four people have been killed in as many days in clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime in northern Lebanon, a security official said Thursday.

Another 35 people have been wounded in the fighting between residents of two adjacent neighbourhoods in the northern city of Tripoli divided over the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Jabal Mohsen, where most residents share the Alawite faith of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has long been a bastion of support for his regime, while residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh back the Sunni-led revolt.

On Thursday morning, a merchant was killed as he opened his shop in the nearby neighbourhood of Maalula, while another person was killed in Jabal Mohsen.

“The army is responding to all sources of fire. Snipers are hiding on the rooftops and in the streets,” the security official said.

Schools and universities have been closed in the city following the outbreak of the clashes on Monday, while shops and banks have remained open.

Militants from Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tebanneh have clashed on numerous occasions since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, raising fears the conflict could spill over into multi-sectarian Lebanon.

Political factions in Lebanon — which was dominated by Syria for three decades — have been fiercely divided over the civil war next door, particularly since the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah confirmed in May that it is fighting alongside regime troops.