As many as seven people were killed and 22 others received critical injuries when pro- and anti-Syrian groups fired on each other on Saturday in northern Lebanon. The Syrian crisis has started to spill over to the neighboring countries and it is dangerous, indeed. The regional security and stability is at stake as the security forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad's regime continue to try to stem the protests and demonstrations through violence and repression. In Lebanon, people are divided over whether to support Assad or rebels fighting against the regime.
The clashes were reported in Tripoli, a port city of Lebanon. Officials and human rights activists working in the area disclosed that the fighting started before midnight Friday and intensified Saturday. They believe the clashes were result of the sectarian alignment, as Sunnis of Lebanon have been supporting the rebels of Syria, while Shias are on the side of Bashar al-Assad. It is also widely believed thatbased in Lebanon has been supporting the Syrian regime for their own vested interests and even a number of activists of the group have been fighting against the rebels.
It has been 15 months to the uprising and Syrian people still wait for a positive outcome of their sacrifices. The United Nations and human rights activists working in the area say that more than 13,000 people have been killed so far by the security forces loyal to the regime. The violence still continues in the violence-wracked country and Bashar al-Assad has virtually refused to step down from his position.
On the other hand, the international community has been looking for different options to remove the dictator. In a recent statement, Israeli Prime Ministerblamed Iran and Hezbollah for woes of innocent Syrians, as both of them have been collaborating with President Bashar al-Assad. He also condemned the fresh killings in Houla and called on the world powers to take action. It was for the first time since the uprising began in Syria 15 months ago that Mr. Netanyahu publicly condemned the Syrian regime for carrying out atrocities against civilians just to prolong his rule.
Why do Hezbollah and Iran support Bashar al-Assad? Assad comes from the minority Alawite Shiite tribe of the country. He succeeded his father, Hafez Assad, in 2000 after his death. In Syria, the Shiite minority has been ruling the Sunni majority for years and Iran fears if the regime is ousted, the country’s vested interests in the region may fall in danger. Observers believe Iran is fighting a proxy war against Syrian rebels with the help of Hezbollah. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization based in Lebanon and an armed wing of Iran.
The international community should do something viable at the earliest to end bloodshed in Syria, otherwise the fire can engulf the whole region.