by Ariel Ben Solomon, Reuters
Flags of Hezbollah, Assad's Syria Photo: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho
At least 16 people were killed and 80 were wounded on Sunday as fighting continued, for the seventh day, between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
The Lebanese army reinforced its presence in the city, setting up checkpoints. The streets were empty and shops remained closed, the Beirut-based Daily Star reported.
Most of the violence took place between Sunnis and Alawites.
Meanwhile, in Syria, the Sunni-dominated rebels claimed they killed at least 15 Hezbollah fighters on Saturday in the Ghouta district, on the outskirts of Damascus, Al-Arabiya TV reported. Six wounded Hezbollah fighters were reportedly taken to Lebanon for treatment.
A video posted on the Internet showed dead soldiers with Hezbollah patches on their uniforms.
The war in Syria continues to spill over into Lebanon. The Lebanese government has been unable to form a government since April.
The Syrian war has caused 2 million people to flee into neighboring countries and exacerbated regional sectarian divides.
The spillover from the fragmentation of the Syrian state is causing “Lebanon’s deepest crisis since the end of the 15-year civil war that ran from the mid- 1970s to the late 1980s,” Hussein Ibish wrote in The National newspaper based in the UAE.
“The irony is that Syria’s transition into a Lebanese-like reality may destroy the ability of Lebanon to maintain its own uneasy equilibrium,” he said.
In Syria, 40 people died when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in Wadi Barada in Damascus province on Friday, said the anti-Assad Observatory, which verifies reports through a network of sources around Syria.
State news agency SANA said many terrorists – a term it uses for those fighting Assad – were killed in the explosion and quoted a witness who said the mosque’s two entrances collapsed when the bomber struck before the end of Friday prayers.
State TV reported on Friday that Abu Muhammad al-Golani, leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, a rebel group that has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings, had been killed.
Fighters from the Islamist group told Reuters Golani was alive.
Ariel Ben Solomon, Reuters
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