Sunday, March 23, 2014

One killed in Syria-related fighting in Beirut

Soldiers walk pass a damaged vehicle after the military deployed in Beirut to contain armed clashes on Sunday, March 23, 3014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
One person was killed and 13 wounded in a gun battle in the Lebanese capital Beirut early on Sunday between supporters and opponents of president Assad of Syria. The clashes took place in the neighborhood of Al-Gharbi near the Sports Stadium. The fighting began around 3 and erupted again later in the morning in spite of the deployment of Lebanese Army units. Hours later, the Lebanese Army sent in reinforcements and armoured vehicles in a bid to contain the fighting, as the sound of heavy gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades resonated in the neighborhood. At least one building caught fire.

The fighting took place between members of the pro-Assad Arab Movement Party and members of the Future Movement. The head of the Arab Movement Party, Shaker Berjawi, told a local media outlet that a personal dispute between members of the Future Movement and his party escalated."There was a personal dispute at first, but then Future supporters attacked the house of an Arab Movement member and tried to storm the headquarters," Berjawi said.
Meanwhile in the northern city of Tripoli a relative quiet returned, but the fear of renewed fighting remained. A cease-fire called by the city’s lawmakers Friday evening fell on deaf ears as rival fighters in the mainly Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh and mostly Alawite Jabal Mohsen continued to trade rocket-propelled grenades well into the early hours of the morning. The hostilities subsided at 5 a.m. but intermittent sniper fire could still be heard throughout the day. The death toll from 10 days of fighting now stands at 26, security sources told The Daily Star, in what is now the 20th round of clashes to plague the city since the beginning of the uprising in Syria three years ago. One hundred and seventy eight people, including soldiers, have also been wounded since the clashes erupted on March 13.

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