Death Toll In Lebanon Clashes Rises To 6: Security

The death toll from five days of clashes in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime has climbed to six, a security official said Friday.

The latest casualty was a 22-year-old mother of two, who died from gunshot wounds she suffered on Thursday, he told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that another 49 people have been wounded. Sunni and Alawite gunmen have been fighting in the Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen districts of Tripoli since Monday and were still exchanging gunfire on Friday afternoon.

The Lebanese army meanwhile set up barricades to separate them.  The fighting broke out Monday while an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was being aired on television.

Residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh support the anti-Assad revolt, while those in Jabal Mohsen back Assad, and both sides have fought frequently since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011.

The latest fighting has prompted residents to flee the impoverished neighbourhoods while schools and universities have been closed in Tripoli since mid-week.

Lebanon is deeply divided into pro- and anti-Damascus camps.

The division has widened since Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah admitted in May it was sending fighters into Syria to support Assad’s troops.

Small radical Sunni organisations have also sent men across the border to fight alongside the rebels.

Lebanon was dominated politically and militarily by Damascus for 30 years until 2005.

Source : Ahram