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Fighting Rages in North Lebanon for Second Day - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A pro-government gunman holds his assault rifle as he takes his position at Bab el Tabaneh district, in Tripoli, north of Lebanon (AP)

A pro-government gunman holds his assault rifle as he takes his position at Bab el Tabaneh district, in Tripoli, north of Lebanon (AP)

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters)- Sectarian fighting raged for a second day in north Lebanon on Monday, further denting a Qatari-brokered deal to end the country’s political crisis.

Security sources said six people have been killed and 48 wounded in the clashes in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city.

The fighting, which broke out at dawn on Sunday, continued on the outskirts of the mainly Sunni Muslim port city despite a ceasefire agreement between Sunni supporters of the government and Alawite gunmen close to the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Several homes, shops and cars were damaged in fighting around the Sunni Bab Tibbaneh district and Alawite Jabal Mohsen.

The warring sides exchanged machinegun fire, grenades and mortar bombs. Scores of families fled and sought safe haven in other parts of the city and nearby villages.

Tripoli is dominated by Lebanon’s anti-Syrian Sunni-led majority coalition while a majority of Alawites have close ties to Syria, which is ruled by an Alawite and is allied to the opposition.

Alawites are a small offshoot of Shi’ite Islam which dominates the Baathist government in neighboring Syria. Their numbers are small in Lebanon but they gained some political clout during Syria’s military presence in Lebanon.

Last month Lebanon ended its 18-month political crisis with the Western-backed coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition reaching a Qatari-mediated accord. The conflict had led to a violent showdown that threatened a new civil war.

Since then there have been frequent minor security incidents.

Delays in forming a national unity government as stipulated in last month’s accord have raised fears of a further deterioration in the security situation and a collapse in efforts to resolve the political standoff.

A masked gunman stands in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli during clashes between armed opponents and supporters of the parliamentary majority (AFP)

A masked gunman stands in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli during clashes between armed opponents and supporters of the parliamentary majority (AFP)

A pro-government gunman holds his AK-47 as he sits on his scooter at Bab el Tabaneh district, in Tripoli, north of Lebanon (AP)

A pro-government gunman holds his AK-47 as he sits on his scooter at Bab el Tabaneh district, in Tripoli, north of Lebanon (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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