Pro-Assad and opposition TV studio guests fight on air

Lebanese news debate ends in violence after pundit refuses to offer condolences to fellow guest whose relative was executed by Isis

Thursday 13 July 2017 10:50
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Pair fight on live TV after pro-Assad guest refuses to extend condolences to man bereaved by Isis

A studio debate on Lebanese television ended in violence less than a minute after it began following an argument between two guests on the show.

OTV uploaded a clip to its YouTube channel of the fight on Monday between Bilal Daqmaq, a prominent Lebanese cleric and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad critic, and former Syrian MP Ahmad Shlash, who supports the government in the Syrian civil war.

It was quickly viewed and shared thousands of times on various social media accounts, and later translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The two came to blows within seconds after the host said he was sorry to hear that Mr Shlash’s cousin had been murdered the day before by Isis, who had accused the dead man of collaborating with the regime.

He asked whether Mr Daqmaq would also like to offer his condolences - to be told by the Muslim scholar, who sat with his arms folded, that he would “extend my condolences to the Syrian people for anyone killed.”

Mr Shlash immediately took offence to the equivocal answer, asking, “Brother, he asked you a straight question: Are you extending me condolences or not?” to which his fellow guest replied, “It’s none of your business.”

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The former MP asked, raising his voice, how it could “possibly be none of my business?!” and the two proceeded to swear and shout at each other to shut up before Mr Shlash got up from his seat.

Almost instantaneously two began landing blows on each other, throwing a glass of water, knocking over a chair and damaging screens before staff on set could intervene to separate them.

A few moments later, the moderator also had a glass of water thrown over him for his trouble in trying to break up the fight.

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