Sectarian clashes in north Lebanon leave at least 9 dead


Smoke billows from Tripoli's Bab al-Tabbaneh Sunni neighborhood on Oct. 25, 2013 during clashes with Alawite supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Sunni militants in Lebanon accuse the army of siding with supporters of the Syrian regime.


Joseph Eid

At least nine people are dead in sectarian clashes in the suburbs of the northern Lebanese city Tripoli.

Fighting in Tripoli's poor outskirts between supporters and opponents of Syria's Assad regime has continued for years in a low-scale civil conflict.

Dozens of people were wounded in attacks over the weekend. Many of the dead were killed by sniper fire.

The two impoverished neighborhoods Jabal Mohsen, which is predominantly Alawite and supports Assad and Bab al-Tabbaneh, which is Sunni and is mostly anti-Assad, have seen the heaviest fighting in Lebanon during the Syrian conflict.

Fighting between the districts dates back decades but the sectarian conflict in Syria has reignited tensions.

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Heavy gunfire, rockets and sniper fire rang out in the hills above the port city over the weekend.

It is estimated that nine soldiers were injured in the violence.

The Lebanese army reportedly patrols the neighborhoods during the day but has been unable to contain the nightly violence.

A report in Vice has indicated that child soldiers have been used in the conflict between these warring districts.

Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper has pointed out in the past that many residents in the conflict-ridden neighborhoods oppose the violence and refuse to take sides between sects.