Clashes in Lebanon between Sunnis of the Bab al-Tebbaneh district and neighboring Alawis in the Jabal Mohsen district killed at least six people and wounded 40 others before dawn Sunday, according to a security official quoted in Nahar newspaper. The violence has been linked to the 21-month conflict in Syria, and victims included women and children in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
Sunni residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh district exchanged machine gun and rocket fire with Assad regime supporters of the neighboring Alawi district, Jabal Mohsen, leaving three members of each community dead, the security official told AFP.
In a separate incident, two Lebanese soldiers have been wounded in the district of Talaat al-Omari.
However, medical sources said that the latest deaths brought the toll since fighting erupted in the city Tuesday to 19.The fatalities include two children and more than 97 wounded.
Long-standing tensions in Tripoli escalated after 17 Lebanese men, who had crossed into Syria to join the Free Syrian Army in battling against Assad regime, were killed in an ambush by Syrian army near Syria’s border of Tal Kalakhon on Nov. 30. The men hail from the city of Tripoli, including the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and the Mankoubeen.
Another Security source told Reuters news that clashes resumed in Tripoli when Syrian TV aired graphic footage of the dead Lebanese gunmen, their bloodied corpses riddled with bullet holes, leading families of the dead demonstrated to demand the return of the bodies.
A security source said earlier to MTV news that he believed the 17 Lebanese men had been ambushed after walking a good distance into Syrian territory. He added that he suspected there may have been a tip off to the Syrian regime, because the guides with them knew the roads well.
Also on Sunday, the Syrian regime handed three of the 17 bodies to Lebanese authorities on the Arida border crossing, north Lebanon. The remaining bodies of the Lebanese would be returned in several stages for logistical reasons, said Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdel Karim Ali in Lebanon.
It is worth mentioning that, the Syrian popular revolution against the regime of Assad family heightens tensions in Lebanon, which experienced 30 years of Syrian hegemony and remains deeply divided between opponents of Assad, who are backed by Washington, and supporters to the Syrian regime, in particular , in addition to Lebanese members dominating the government.
It is important for the reader to know that Syria did not recognize Lebanon as an independent state until 2005 and was interfering in every nook and cranny in Lebanon. Moreover, many Lebanese have been arrested by the Syrian regime security and intelligence since the 1970s. The fate of some of them is still unknown. I do not exaggerate in saying that a Syrian solider was able to shut down the Beirut airport with out any reason! From here, the reader can reach to the conclusion that Lebanon was occupied by Syria.
After the assassination of Rafik Hariri, who was one of the worst enemies of the Syrian regime, the Lebanese opposition forces along with the international community forced Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and to appoint an ambassador therein. However, this did not end the Syrian occupation, as a large number of Lebanese organizations are still linked to Syria. Hezbollah is one of them, as is the Lebanese government, which has controlled Lebanon since 2008.
Perhaps the reason for the fight I referred to earlier in this report is clear, but does the Syrian regime kill everyone entering Syria to fight? Of course not. As far as I know from my own sources inside Syria, Hezbollah and Iran are helping regime forces in their fight against the Free Syrian Army. Hezbollah is guarding and watching Syria's border with Lebanon, more than monitoring Lebanon's border with Israel.
I do not confirm or deny the presence of Lebanese elements fighting against the Syrian regime, but what I am sure of is that the Lebanese, especially Tripoli residents, have suffered so much from the crimes of the Syrian regime since the Hafez Assad era. Lebanese people know very well that the number of victims in Tripoli is considered the most among all Lebanon. The reason that Tripoli residents are Sunnis opponents to the Syrian regime. Thus, for Lebanese fighters to go inside Syria is considered revenge against the Syrian regime.
The equation that must be understood by the international community is that Hezbollah, without the support of the Syrian regime, has no value in Lebanese territories. At the same time, the fall of the Syrian regime will mean the end of Iran's influence in the Arab countries. For this, Iran is trying to find a location for itself in the Arab world, after the elimination of the Syrian regime, by supporting the Shiites in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait and encouraging them to demonstrate and overthrow the regimes in those countries.