Fighting in northern Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad early today left at least nine people dead and dozens injured, according to Reuters.
Gun battles accompanied by rocket fire broke out in the northern coastal city of Tripoli in the early hours today, security and medical officials told the Agence France Presse, with some residents forced to leave their homes to escape the violence.
Reuters said the violence killed at least nine people left some 40 wounded in the port city.
Skirmishes were also reported in the Sunni Muslim district of Bab al-Tebbaneh, where the population supports the various rebel groups in Syria seeking to overthrow Assad’s predominantly Alawite Shi’ite regime, said AFP. Five others were wounded in Tripoli’s Shi’ite Jabal Mohen neighborhood, where most of the population support Assad.
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Violence between members from both communities has flared up sporadically since the beginning of Syria’s uprising 14 months ago.
Across the border, activists told the Associated Press that Syrian troops had fired shells at a number of villages in Houla, where the United Nations says more than 100 people – half of them children – were massacred on May 25.
Calls to bring an end to the Syrian crisis have gained greater urgency since, and in Qatar the head of the biggest opposition group in exile said he would welcome military action by Arab states to halt Syrian government attacks on both rebels and civilians.
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