Death Toll Climbs in Lebanon’s Syrian Clashes

May 17, 2012  

The death toll from Syrian-related clashes continues to climb in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, as Israel closely monitors the events.

On Wednesday night, a civilian was caught in the crossfire and died of his wounds, security sources said.

At least nine people have died and nearly 100 have been wounded in the fighting between the majority Sunni Muslims and the small Alawite community that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, himself an Alawite. The Lebanese Army, which initially had hung back, was finally deployed within the city itself after the violence resulted in lost lives on Tuesday.

Syrian troops were garrisoned in Lebanon until 2005, and spent years in the country. They were also suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, which opposes Syria’s majority Sunni Muslims who have led the uprising against the Assad regime.

A United Nations investigation eventually found that a hand-picked group of operatives from the Shi’ite Muslim Hizbullah terrorist organization was responsible for Hariri’s murder.

Especially since the Israeli army withdrew from its buffer zone in southern Lebanon, Hizbullah has gradually extended control over the country.

Following the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Hizbullah and Israel, the pro-Syrian terrorist group also expanded its control over the Lebanese government itself.

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