Lebanon deploys troops to calm Syria-linked violence (BBC) British Broadcasting Company) 3 June 2012 Last updated at 07:35 GMT)
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Lebanon has sent troops to the port city of Tripoli after at least 10
people were killed in clashes linked to unrest across the border in
Security forces were deployed after the country´s Prime Minister
Najib Mikati visited to try and stem the violence.
The clashes came after UN peace envoy Kofi Annan warned sectarian
violence in Syria could spread across borders.
Recent weeks have seen increased clashes between armed Alawite groups
and Sunni fighters in the city.
"The Lebanese army and internal security forces need to take all
measures to stop the clashes in the city of Tripoli, without
discrimination," a statement from Mr Mikati´s office said.
Armoured vehicles were seen on the streets of the city but no shots
were fired, a Reuters report said.
Fighting was concentrated in Tripoli´s Bab al-Tebbaneh district, a
mostly Sunni Muslim community, and the pro-Damascus Alawite Jabal
Although there have been on-off clashes between gunmen in
neighbouring Tripoli districts, Saturday´s death toll is believed to
be the highest in a single day.
The BBC´s Jim Muir, in Beirut, says that the fighting pits Sunni
gunmen - who support the uprising in Syria - against Alawites, who
back President Bashar al-Assad´s Alawite-dominated regime in Damascus.
These sectarian fault-lines run through the region and connect in
Syria, fuelling the fear that the possibility of an all-out civil war
in Syria could have dangerous repercussions for its neighbours.
"We are being targeted because we support the Syrian people," one
Sunni gunman told Associated Press Television. "We are with you
[Syrian people] and will not abandon you," he added.
On 14 May, five people were killed in similar clashes after a Sunni
cleric, Shadi al-Moulawi, was arrested on terrorism charges. His
supporters say he was held because he helped Syrian refugees.
In February, two died when supporters and opponents of Mr Assad
Community leaders in Lebanon have repeatedly warned of the
possibility that the violence in Syria would spill over the border.
Lebanon is already hosting thousands of Syrian refugees.
Last month, 11 Lebanese Shia Muslim pilgrims were abducted,
reportedly by a Sunni rebel splinter group, in Syria.
On Friday, the leader of Lebanon´s Hezbollah movement, Sheikh Hassan
Nasrallah, called for their release. (© BBC MMXII 06/03/12)
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