Lebanese soldiers have been patrolling an area of Tripoli after the deaths of at least three people in more clashes between Alawite and Sunni communities in the city. The fighting over two days has also left forty or so wounded.
The violence appears to have been triggered by the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria, in particular the current Syrian army assault on the rebel-led town of Qusair.
‘‘It looks like the order for combat has come from the Syrian regime to its Shabiha militia to open the battle in Tripoli in order to cover up what is happening in Qusair. But we reserve the right to retaliate,” said a Lebanese Sunni gunman.
Lebanese militants are believed to be crossing the border to join the fighting in Syria on both sides of the conflict.
Sunnis in Lebanon mostly sympathise with the Sunni-led revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.