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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs