Monday, 23 June 2008

Dangerous north

Al Jazeera on the clashes in Tripoli, north Lebanon.

LBC interviews heavily armed Sunni fighters, and partisans from the Alawites.

Reuters has the latest:

Sectarian fighting raged for a second day in north Lebanon on Monday, further denting a Qatari-brokered deal to end the country's political crisis.

Security sources said six people have been killed and 48 wounded in the clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city.

The fighting, which broke out at dawn on Sunday, continued on the outskirts of the mainly Sunni Muslim port city despite a ceasefire agreement between Sunni supporters of the government and Alawite gunmen close to the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Several homes, shops and cars were damaged in fighting around the Sunni Bab Tibbaneh district and Alawite Jabal Mohsen.

The warring sides exchanged machinegun fire, grenades and mortar bombs. Scores of families fled and sought safe haven in other parts of the city and nearby villages.

Tripoli is dominated by Lebanon's anti-Syrian Sunni-led majority coalition while a majority of Alawites have close ties to Syria, which is ruled by an Alawite and is allied to the opposition.

Alawites are a small offshoot of Shi'ite Islam which dominates the Baathist government in neighbouring Syria. Their numbers are small in Lebanon but they gained some political clout during Syria's military presence in Lebanon.

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