Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Syrian Crisis Spills Over Into Lebanon

By Mona Alami

"TRIPOLI, Lebanon, Feb 15, 2012 (IPS) - Chants erupt from the second floor of a decrepit building in Tripoli in the Sunni stronghold of Bab el-Tebbaneh. Young voices loudly sing "Yalla Erhal Ya Bashar," or "Come on, leave, Bashar," directed at the Syrian president, Bashar al- Assad. It has become the anthem of the Syrian revolution.

Behind a broken door, women and children gather around a hot pot of coffee. Souhaib Aal, one of the teenagers sitting in the small, run-down room, proudly shows a makeshift copy of a Free Syrian Army (FSA) ID card. "I want to be like the FSA soldiers when I grow up. They have shown strength and courage in battling Assad’s dictatorship!" he says with a proud smile.

The building bears the scars of the violent battle that raged last weekend between Sunni residents from Bab el-Tebbaneh and their Alawite neighbors in Jabal Mohsen. The Syrian regime is made up of Alawites who rule a Sunni-majority country. The fighting, which left three people dead, ended last Saturday after Tripoli lawmakers hammered out a ceasefire.

The onslaught on Homs has enflamed emotions in nearby Lebanon, reviving tensions between Lebanese Sunnis, who largely support the Syrian rebellion, and Alawites, who support the regime in Damascus. The conflict between the groups has been ongoing for generations and seems set to continue for long....."

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