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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid