ASIA NEWS REPORT
Death toll reaches 23 with 167 wounded. As life goes on, schools are closed and soldiers patrol the streets. Fuelling fears of Syrian involvement, National News Agency reports Syrian troops fired on a Lebanese army patrol.
Beirut (AsiaNews) - A cautious calm fell over Tripoli, occasionally violated by intermittent sniper fire. This comes after clashes broke out between Sunnis from Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawis from Jabal Mohsen, that left 23 dead and 167 wounded.
Yesterday was the bloodiest day yet in the clashes, with at least 11 people killed in 24 hours this despite the deployment of Lebanese troops.
Voice of Lebanon radio reported that the army was now preparing to enter Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood.
In the city, life has continued as normal to some extent, but with traffic lighter than usual. Schools closed however, but most shops were still open.
The Syrian conflict is the cause for clashes with local Sunnis, who back Syrian rebels, and Alawis, who side with Syrian President Assad, a fellow coreligionist.
Violence broke out after Syrian forces, reinforced by Hizbollah, attacked the town of Qusayr, on the Lebanese border.
This is raising concerns that the conflict in Syria might spillover into Lebanon.
Putting aside the fact that the presence of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing violence at home is putting pressure on Lebanon, the country itself is deeply divided between Sunnis, who side with the rebels, and Shias, who back Assad.
The division, which is also reflected among political parties and the government, is likely to affect Christians, who in principle are not a party to the conflict.
Making matters worse, the Syrian army reportedly opened fire yesterday on a vehicle of the Lebanese joint border security force that was patrolling the northern town of Wadi Khaled, state-run National News Agency reported. No one was hit.
Also on Thursday, Sunni-dominated Future TV also reported clashes between Hizbullah men and the same border security force. (PD)