News / Middle East

New Sectarian Clashes Break Out in Lebanon

Sunni Muslim gunmen run to take up position in the neighborhood of Bab al-Tebbaneh in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, during sectarian clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites, August 24, 2012.
Sunni Muslim gunmen run to take up position in the neighborhood of Bab al-Tebbaneh in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, during sectarian clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites, August 24, 2012.
Edward Yeranian
CAIRO — Another round of sectarian fighting broke out in Lebanon's northern coastal city of Tripoli, overnight, between residents of a Sunni Muslim district and their Alawite neighbors. The clashes are raising concerns that sectarian violence in Syria is spilling into Lebanon.

Rounds of automatic weapons were heard throughout the night, as shooting engulfed the front line dividing the Sunni Muslim district of Bab al-Tebbaneh and from the Alawite district of Jebal Mohsen.

It was the fourth consecutive day of sporadic clashes between the rival communities.

Witnesses say fighting tapered off Friday morning as shops opened in most parts of Tripoli. A number of shops were set ablaze overnight in apparent acts of revenge. Sunni Sheikh Khaled al-Baradei was killed in the latest fighting, exacerbating tensions.

One Sunni Muslim fighter told journalists that it was the Alawites who broke the latest cease-fire between the warring communities:

He complains that both sides agreed to a simultaneous cease-fire Thursday, but that the Alawite side did not respect it.

As both sides point blame, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said at a news conference that political leaders have been working to put out the flames of sectarian conflict:

He says that negotiations have continued since the first day (of the fighting) and that meetings were undoubtedly behind the cease-fire that (broke down overnight). He stresses that all political forces in Lebanon are giving their support to the Lebanese Army.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says the fighting could be linked to attempts to open a military airport in northern Lebanon to civilian use.

"Following the repeated closures of the airport road in Beirut over the past weeks, there have been talks about the need to open an alternative airport and members of the March 14th [anti-Syrian] Coalition have been talking about opening the Kleyat Airport in the north. Of course, for that airport to become functional you need to disarm the Alawites in Jebal Mohsen because they overlook the highway leading to the north," said Khashan.

The old Kleyat military airport lies 10 kilometers south of the Syrian border.

Pro-Syrian supporters have repeatedly closed the road from Beirut's international airport leading into the capital. They have also kidnapped a number of Syrian citizens in reprisal for Lebanese Shi'ites being held by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

The Alawites of Tripoli's Jebl Mohsen district support Syria's Alawite-led regime of President Bashar al-Assad. They are also allies of the militant/political faction Hezbollah in a broad pro-Syrian coalition which currently governs Lebanon.

Analysts estimate the strength of the Alawite community in Tripoli at around 40,000 to 50,000 people in a city with 200,000 inhabitants.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
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 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 US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of 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 Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
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.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs