News / Middle East

Syria-fueled Violence Kills 3 in Lebanon's Tripoli

Smoke rises as a Lebanese Army armed vehicle drives through a street in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, Dec.1, 2013.
Smoke rises as a Lebanese Army armed vehicle drives through a street in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, Dec.1, 2013.
Reuters
Three people were killed overnight in fighting in the north Lebanese city of Tripoli, security sources said on Sunday, raising to nine the death toll in 24 hours of violence fueled by sectarian tensions over Syria's civil war.
    
The clashes between Tripoli's Alawite minority, which supports Syria's Alawite President Bashar al-Assad, and majority Sunni Muslims who back the Syrian rebels, is the latest round of violence which has killed more than 100 people in the Mediterranean city this year.
    
Gun battles have broken out five times since March, killing dozens of people, and twin car bombs at Sunni Muslim mosques in Tripoli killed 42 people in August. The latest clashes were preceded by repeated attacks on Alawite targets over the last week in which several people were wounded.
    
Tripoli residents said the sounds of heavy gunfire and rocket explosions echoed across Lebanon's second city from midnight to 6 am.
    
The city was quieter after dawn, they said, with soldiers patrolling otherwise empty streets of the rival neighborhoods, but occasional bursts of gunfire continued.
    
Security sources said the dead were all from the Sunni Muslim Bab al-Tabbaneh district. Dozens of people have been wounded since the battle erupted on Saturday morning, including nine soldiers and several people from the Alawite neighborhood of Jebel Mohsen, they said.
    
Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni Muslim from Tripoli, held talks with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and other security officials on Saturday to discuss how to end the violence, which erupted despite the deployment of soldiers in both districts.
    
Around 150 relatives of the victims of the August car bombs protested in a Tripoli square on Sunday, calling for a campaign of civil disobedience until the suspects behind the attacks - which they blame on the Alawites - were held to account.
    
They called for electricity and water supplies to be cut off from Jebel Mohsen and vowed they would not back down on their demands.
    
The divisions in Tripoli, 20 miles (30 km) from the Syrian border, reflect the sectarian gulf across Lebanon over Syria's civil war. Sunni Muslims have crossed the border to fight alongside anti-Assad rebels, while Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah militia have helped Assad regain the military initiative.
    
But tensions in Tripoli have festered between the Sunni Muslim majority and small Alawite community since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, when Alawite allied with Syrian troops to battle Sunni Islamist fighters in Tripoli.
    
"The story in Tripoli is complex and hard," Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Hezbollah's Al-Manar television on Sunday. "The conflict is not new, or from the last couple of years. It is from the 80s and 90s."
    
"Those differences are still there - the people change but the thinking is the same."
    
Poverty and unemployment in the former industrial center, which worsened as politicians focused post-war investment into the capital Beirut, has also made it easier for militias to win recruits in a conflict which Tripoli's Alawite minority see as a battle for their survival.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid