Syrian Fires Make Beirut Boil (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 05/21/12)
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Syria´s ongoing unrest spilled over into Beirut on Monday as UN
officials wring their hands over the most entrenched and bloody Arab
Spring revolution today.
Sunnis rioted in the Lebanese capital after the killing of an anti-
Syrian Lebanese cleric lat Sunday night, leading to clashes with the
military that left two dead and 18 wounded.
Sheikh Ahmad Abdel-Wahid was shot dead on Sunday night by Lebanese
troops when his convoy failed to stop at a checkpoint in north
The Lebanese military issued a statement expressing "deep regrets"
for Sheikh Wahid´s death after the incident.
However, his death ignited simmering tensions after violent clashes
between Sunnis and Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-
Assad. Those clashes had left 10 people dead.
Syria´s Arab Spring revolt has exacerbated deep political divisions
in Lebanon. Beirut´s Saudi-allied and Western-leaning opposition
backs the movement to oust Assad, while the ruling coalition -
dominated by the Hizbullah terror militias - supports Damascus.
The fighting in Beirut was the worst since sectarian clashes in 2008
that pitted Sunnis against Shiites, and nearly plunged the country
into civil war.
In Syria, an official of the governing Baath Party was assassinated
in Jisr al-Shughur by rebels on Sunday, and a roadside bomb exploded
close to UN observers in the suburb of Douma.
The UN observers included the mission commander, General Robert Mood,
and the chief of UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, Herve Ladsous.
The bombing marked the second time in less than a month Mood has been
A videotape aired by Al Jazeera on Sunday claiming that six top
Syrian officials had been assassinated was denied by the authorities.
The video, issued by a group called the Brigades of the Sabaha
[Companions of the Prophet Mohammed] - which has no known ties to the
Syrian Free Army - showed an unidentified man in a military-style
uniform claiming a lone assassin killed the officials.
Among the alleged victims were Assef Shawkat, the head of military
intelligence. Shawkat is Assad´s brother-in-law and a powerful figure
in Syria. The other five were Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar,
Defence Minister Daoud Rajha, national security chief Hisham
Bakhtiar, an assistant to Vice-President Farouq al-Sharaa, Hassan
Turkmani, and a Ba´ath Party official, Mohammed Said Bakhtian.
However, al-Shaar quickly issued a statement to Syrian state
television saying he was "alive and well," adding the "disgusting al-
Jazeera" was broadcasting "completely false" reports.
Turkmani also told state telvision reports of his death
were "completely baseless."
A government statement carried by the state news agency SANA issued a
strong denial by General Rajha.
Al-Shaar also appeared on state television to refute the reports in
person after rebels called on the officials to make live appearances
to prove they were alive.
The alleged assassinations and prompt denials offer a stark example
of the difficulty of ascertaining accurate facts in a country where
foreign reports have no been allowed to operate. (IsraelNationalNews
© 2012 05/21/12)
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