More Syria-Linked Gun
Battles Reported in Lebanon's Tripoli - Lakhdar Brahimi
December 09, 2012
Lebanese officials say sectarian gun battles linked to the civil war in
neighboring Syria have killed another four people in the northern city
Authorities said Sunday's fighting involved Sunni supporters of Syria's
rebels in the Tripoli neighborhood of Bab Tabbaneh and Alawite loyalists
of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the adjacent district of Jabal
Gun battles between the rival neighborhoods have killed at least 13
people since early last week. The violence began after reports emerged
that Syrian government troops ambushed and killed a group of Lebanese
Sunnis from Tripoli who crossed into Syria to join the rebels last
The killings inflamed long-running sectarian tensions in Tripoli, whose
Sunni majority is sympathetic to Syria's predominantly-Sunni rebels and
whose Alawite minority is allied to Alawite Syrian President Assad. The
Lebanese government has sent reinforcements to Tripoli to try to stop
the violence, which has erupted several times in recent months and
raised concerns that Lebanon could be dragged into Syria's conflict.
Syrian authorities returned the bodies of three Lebanese Sunnis killed
in the ambush to Lebanon on Sunday. Beirut has asked Damascus to
repatriate the bodies of all the fighters.
In the latest fighting in Syria, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights said rebels captured most of a Syrian military base
near the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday. It said several rebels and
soldiers were killed in the battle at the Sheikh Suleiman compound,
while about 140 government troops escaped.
was no independent confirmation of the fighting because Syria tightly
restricts independent reporting.
U.S. and Russian diplomats met with U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in
Geneva on Sunday to try to find a political solution to the Syrian
conflict. Washington wants Assad to quit and begin a transition to a
democratic government, while Moscow opposes Western demands to impose
regime change on the Syrian president, a longtime Russian ally.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday Moscow's
participation in the Geneva talks does not mean it has softened its
position. He said Russia is not conducting any negotiations on the fate