News / Middle East

Fears Rise in Lebanon of Syrian War Spillover

Fears Rise in Lebanon of Syrian War Spilloveri
X
May 28, 2013 6:12 PM
Clashes on both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border have raised fears Syria's civil war may be spreading into Lebanon. Fighters have included Lebanon's Hezbollah, which supports the Syrian government, and Syrian rebel factions. In the latest incident, gunmen on Tuesday killed three Lebanese soldiers near the border and fled to Syria. VOA's Scott Bobb has this report from Beirut.
Fears Rise in Lebanon of Syrian War Spillover
Scott Bobb
Clashes on both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border have raised fears Syria's civil war may be spreading into Lebanon. Fighters have included Lebanon's Hezbollah, which supports the Syrian government, and Syrian rebel factions. In the latest incident, gunmen on Tuesday killed three Lebanese soldiers near the border and fled to Syria.

Sectarian tensions in Lebanon rose after the clashes. They took place in the northern city of Tripoli between Sunni Lebanese who support the Syrian rebels and Alawite Lebanese who support the Syrian government, which is dominated by the same offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

In Beirut, two rockets hit a largely Shi'ite suburb Sunday - a day after Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, vowed to prevent the fall of the Syrian government and to send tens of thousands of fighters to Syria if necessary.

Lebanon, recalling its own civil war, has managed to maintain basic calm and stability though this might be be changing, says Paul Salem of the Carnegie Middle East Center.  
 
“The tensions in Syria are beginning to introduce increasing pressures on Lebanon and we might be entering a more difficult period,"Salem said.
 
Hezbollah forces are now fighting alongside Syrian government troops in a major offensive against rebels in Qusair, which lies along the highway linking Damascus to the Mediterranean.

Beirut-based political analyst Kamel Wazne says Hezbollah's future is closely tied to the Syrian government's.

"I think Hezbollah, they feel that Syria is a strategic ally and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is in a strategic co-existence. Any collapse of that regime means a weakness for the resistance [to Israel] and for Hezbollah," Wazne said.

On the rebel side, the Syrian conflict is drawing in Sunni fighters from Lebanon and around the region.  Rising foreign arms shipments to both sides are raising fears of a wider conflict.  Increasingly lethal arms, such as Scud missiles and deadly chemicals, are reportedly being used.

Wazne says negotiations leading to a political solution eventually will be necessary to stop the fighting, though he does not believe this will occur soon.

"But the healing is going to be a very long process and probably will never happen. Syria is going to be a very divided country. The level of death and destruction and the level of hatred, it's going to be a very long time before it heals itself," Wazne said.

Paul Salem says Syria could end up divided along sectarian and communal lines like Lebanon and Iraq.

"Of course there is tension, there is conflict, but both Lebanon and Iraq have had these same conflicts and tensions and they've found, at least in the Lebanese case so far, a way to handle it," Salem said.

Nevertheless, he says a prolonged conflict will widen sectarian divides across the region and could spark unexpected, deadlier consequences.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs