Twenty Wounded In Lebanon's Tripoli: Medical Sources

by
Reuters
Twenty people were wounded in renewed clashes overnight between Alawite supporters of President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Muslim fighters in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, medical sources said on Monday.

A Sunni gunman runs and holds his gun as he moves his position during clashes in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, on Sunday.

(Reuters) - Twenty people were wounded in renewed clashes overnight between Alawite supporters of President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Muslim fighters in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, medical sources said on Monday.

The fighting, which lasted from midnight to 6 a.m. (2100 to 0300 GMT), followed weekend violence in which three people were killed in an Alawite enclave and surrounding Sunni Muslim neighborhoods.

Tension between the two communities in Tripoli has been fuelled by the unrest in neighboring Syria, where Assad is seeking to crush a 14-month uprising which began with largely peaceful protests but has become increasingly militarized.

Assad himself is from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, while the revolt has been led by Syria's majority Sunnis.

Among the deaths at the weekend was a soldier hit by sniper fire. Sporadic fighting also took place between groups of armed Sunnis and the army near a main Sunni district, and many of Tripoli's main intersections were blocked by burning tires.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni Muslim from Tripoli, met religious leaders in the city on Sunday in an attempt to defuse the situation, and local leaders were due to meet later on Monday for more talks to calm the tension.

A small Alawite minority is concentrated in Tripoli, a conservative Sunni city where many residents have been enraged by the Syrian government's crackdown on the mainly Sunni revolt.