News / Middle East

2 Killed in Latest Syria-Related Clashes in Lebanon

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.
VOA News
Hundreds of Lebanese mourners fired into the air Monday at a raucous funeral for an anti-Syrian cleric whose killing has set off deadly street battles in Beirut.

News that Sheikh Ahmed Abdul-Wahid had been gunned down in Lebanon set off battles between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government. By early Monday, after a night of fighting with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, at least two people had been killed and 15 others wounded.

The clashes in Beirut were the most serious unrest there since the Syrian uprising began 15 months ago. Fighting in northern Lebanon linked to the chaos in Syria also has killed eight people during the past week (( in the Lebanese port of Tripoli )).

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the spread of violence into Lebanon is extremely worrisome, and the U.S. State Department urged all parties to exercise restraint.

The latest fighting in southern Beirut resulted in the expulsion of a small pro-Syrian faction, the Arab Movement Party, from a largely Sunni Muslim neighborhood. Reports said the pro-Syrian group was attacked by gunmen from Lebanon's Future Movement, which supports the country's former prime minister Saad al-Hariri, an opponent of Syrian influence on Lebanon.

In the incident that triggered the fighting, Sunni cleric Abdul-Wahid and his bodyguard were gunned down Sunday by a Lebanese soldier, reportedly after they attempted to speed away from a security checkpoint.

The Lebanese military has said it is investigating the shooting.

At Abdul-Wahid's funeral Monday in the cleric's northern hometown of Bireh, near the Syrian border, a Sunni member of Lebanon's parliament, Khaled Daher, delivered a fiery speech accusing the Syrian government of trying "to sow chaos" in Lebanon. He told mourners Abdul-Wahid was the victim of an "international assassination" by Lebanese troops loyal to Damascus.

Syria's army was deployed in Lebanon for nearly 30 years until 2005, and still has strong ties to the country's security services. Suspicions are rife that Damascus has been manipulating its Lebanese allies to feed the fighting.

In Syria itself, activists said government forces shelled and then stormed the village of Qastoun Monday. Reuters quotes an activist living in the central city of Hama as saying dozens of mortars had hit the village and that there were casualties.

The violence followed attacks a day earlier by security forces on the nearby rebel-held town of Souran. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 39 people, including children, were killed in Sunday's violence.

There was no independent confirmation of the casualties.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs