12 killed and more than 80 injured after fighting in Lebanon between two communities divided over Syria


Tripoli, Lebanon

The crack of gunfire and the
heavy thud of rocket-propelled grenades rang out over Lebanon’s second city of
Tripoli today as the death toll climbed during a third day of running
street battles that have ominous echoes of the conflict in
neighbouring Syria.

A shaky ceasefire took hold last night but Sunni fighters warned that “just one bullet” from the other side would renew the clashes, which claimed two further lives today, taking the total killed to 12. Around 80 have been injured.  

Lebanon has been licked by the flames of the 17-month civil war that is raging over the border, but it is the northern city of Tripoli that the fault lines are most acute. 

The rivalry between the Alawite neighbourhood of Jabal Mohsen, which stands firmly behind the Assad regime, and the pro-revolution Sunnis down the hill in Bab al-Tabbaneh, has been enflamed by the conflict over the border. But the fighting is underpinned by poverty and deep-seated mutual resentment. 

Around ten rocket propelled grenades fell in the space of just a few hours this afternoon in the vicinity of the aptly named Syria Street, the front line between the two communities, according to the fighters who exchanged fire back and forth up the hill. 

After the ceasefire came into effect at 5.30pm today a large army deployment trundled into the area. Troops had withdrawn a day earlier after coming under attack from grenades, sending the conflict into an even more deadly tangent. 

Those killed over the past three days include a 13-year-old and a soldier. The city's small Islamic Charitable Hospital said it has so far treated 36 people injured in the fighting. Nine are in-patients, two of whom are in a critical condition. 

“We are expecting more,” said Azzam Assoum, the hospital’s general director.

Tripoli has been rocked by clashes over the past year and a half, but those that have engulfed the city over the past three days have been the most intense, with some residents going as far as to describe them as worst since Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. 

“We are trapped in this cycle of fighting with no where to go,” said a taxi driver from the Bab al-Tabbaneh. “What is the point? We are just being used in someone else’s game.” 

The accusation that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been trying to stir-up dissent in Lebanon to distract from problems at home is a common one and a spate of kidnappings has fuelled fears of a spill-over. 

Lebanese Prime Minister Nijab Mikati has warned that the country must unite to protect the country from “the burning fires all around it”. 

However, tensions remain on a knife-edge. Abu Bera, a Sunni fighter from Bab al Tabbaneh said his men were ready to lay down arms, but had taken a new delivery of ammunition in the afternoon.

“Of course if there’s just one bullet from Jabal Mohsen we will make another fight, we will not just sit and take it,” he said. “We are so angry, so many people have died.”  

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

Year 6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Year 6 Teachers urgently needed for su...

English Secondary Teacher

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: English Teacher needed for ...

Year 3/4 Teacher - Immediate Start

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Year 3/4 Teacher Needed in Flintshire ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits