Last updated: 13 March, 2014

Syria tensions claim more lives in north Lebanon

Two people were killed, including a 10-year-old girl, in the Lebanese city of Tripoli Thursday in the latest fighting linked to tensions over the war in neighbouring Syria, a security official said.

After several weeks of relative calm, clashes broke out between Alawites in the city’s Jabal Mohsen district and Sunnis in the neighbouring Bab al-Tebbaneh area in which 14 other people were hurt.

Residents of Jabal Mohsen are co-religionists and supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while their neighbours back the largely Sunni-led rebellion against his regime.

Media said one of the victims was said to be a Sunni, married to an Alawite woman and living in Jabal Mohsen.

The source said the 32-year-old man was shot four times in the chest by two hooded men on a motor scooter and rushed to hospital, where he died.

That incident touched off rocket and automatic arms fire between the two neighbourhoods, with the army reportedly shooting at the sources of fire.

During the clashes, the girl was hit and killed.

Since 2008, in hostility which dates back to before the outbreak of war in Syria, more than 200 people have died in fighting between Alawites and Sunnis.

The tension between the neighbours goes back decades, but has been inflamed by the Syria conflict.

Lebanon is bitterly divided over the war in its larger neighbour, with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah having sent fighters to bolster Assad’s troops while Sunnis have backed the Sunni-led rebellion.