News / Middle East

Strife in Syria Ripples Into Lebanon's Sectarian Divide

Lebanese citizens leave a destroyed building that was damaged during clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Syrian Sunni groups, in Beirut, Lebanon, May 21, 2012.Lebanese citizens leave a destroyed building that was damaged during clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Syrian Sunni groups, in Beirut, Lebanon, May 21, 2012.
x
Lebanese citizens leave a destroyed building that was damaged during clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Syrian Sunni groups, in Beirut, Lebanon, May 21, 2012.
Lebanese citizens leave a destroyed building that was damaged during clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Syrian Sunni groups, in Beirut, Lebanon, May 21, 2012.
Scott Bobb
TRIPOLI, Lebanon - Some 700 people in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli staged a rally Friday to demand the release of Sunni Islamist leaders who they said were detained for opposing Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. The demonstration comes amid fears that the conflict in Syria could further enflame sectarian tensions in Lebanon.

Hundreds of Sunni Islamists known as Salafists Friday demonstrated in the northern Lebanese city, Tripoli. They were demanding the release of some 200 Sunni Lebanese who they say are being held without charge because they support rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The conflict in Syria has raised tensions in this port city near the Syrian border. Sunnis, who tend to support the Syrian opposition, are angry at members of the local Alawite group that sympathizes with the Alawite-dominate Assad government.
 
The Lebanese government publicly has sought to stay out of the confrontation, calling it an internal Syrian affair.

But Syrian officials have accused certain Lebanese groups of supplying arms and other forms of support to the Syrian rebels.

Twenty-three-year-old electrician Hussein Ali said he attended the rally after Friday prayers to show solidarity with his fellow Sunnis.

He says there have always been problems between the Shi’ite Alawites and the Sunnis. But he says it is not between them alone because Syria is trying to make trouble. It was calm for a while but now they are trying to stir it up.

Ten people were killed in the city during clashes between the two groups two weeks ago. The violence erupted after a Salafist cleric was killed by Lebanese security forces at a checkpoint.

Sunnis say the cleric was targeted because he was helping Assad opponents flee to Lebanon. The Lebanese government says it is investigating.

A speaker at Friday's rally, Sheikh Omar Bakri, accused the Lebanese government of collaborating with the Syrian government. He urged the government to free the detainees on bail and charge them if it finds any evidence of wrongdoing.
 
“We [can] resolve the problem [by] releasing them all on bail or face the consequences. We are willing to make Islamic spring in the north of Lebanon.”
 
The Alawite community in Tripoli lies on the other side of a battle line marked by bullet-pocked buildings and burnt-out apartments. Posters of Mr. Assad and his father, the late Hafez al-Assad, are plastered on walls lining the narrow streets.

Clothing merchant Ali Fouda says the situation in Syria is fueling tensions in northern Lebanon.
 
He says we Alawites do not believe we should interfere with Syria's political affairs and they, the Sunnis, want to interfere. He says in Syria, the revolutionaries are calling for democracy but democracy is a contradiction to their [the Salafists's] ideology and beliefs.
 
The Syrian conflict is also causing unease among Shi’ite Lebanese.

Their militant Hezbollah party has sought to reduce its historical ties to the Syrian government because of the Assad government's crackdown on the opposition. But this has strained relations with Iran, which is a major supporter of the Syrian government as well as Hezbollah.
 
Clashes reached Beirut last weekend, leaving two dead. The tensions were aggravated by the kidnapping of a dozen Shi’ite pilgrims returning through Syria from Iran. Damascus blamed Syrian rebels but the rebels denied the charge. The pilgrims were released Friday.
 
Lebanese leaders from all sectors of society called for restraint and non-violence. But analysts say the atmosphere is volatile and small, isolated incidents could set off clashes.

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Roy from: Sydney
June 07, 2012 8:31 PM
Correction to Gab

It is Talibanic Jihadis against Shias in Pakistan
Salafist Jihadis against Indian authority in Kashmir
Boko Haram militants against non-Boko Haram Nigerians
Patani rebels against Thai authority
Salafist militants against Copts in Egypt
Talibanic militants against Hindus in B-desh
Salafist Jihadis against Alawites
Alawite militants againsts Sunnis
Maronites are neutral and not in any conflict with any Islamist faction
Dinka lead military launching war against Sudan in first place (see Heglig)




by: Gab from: USA
May 26, 2012 8:08 AM
It is a never ending story: Muslim Shiites against Sunnis in Pakistan, Muslims against Hindus in India, Muslims against Christians in Nigeria, Muslims against Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims against Copts in Egypt, Muslims against Christians the Philippines, Aceh (Indonesia), Kosovo (Serbia), Muslims against Maronites in Lebanon, Muslims against Hindus in Bangladesh, Muslims against Russian Orthodox, Muslims against Greek Cypriots, Muslims against Bahai in Iran, Muslims against non-Muslims and Dinkas in Sudan.


by: Gab from: USA
May 26, 2012 8:08 AM
It is a never ending story: Muslim Shiites against Sunnis in Pakistan, Muslims against Hindus in India, Muslims against Christians in Nigeria, Muslims against Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims against Copts in Egypt, Muslims against Christians the Philippines, Aceh (Indonesia), Kosovo (Serbia), Muslims against Maronites in Lebanon, Muslims against Hindus in Bangladesh, Muslims against Russian Orthodox, Muslims against Greek Cypriots, Muslims against Bahai in Iran, Muslims against non-Muslims and Dinkas in Sudan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid