Gunfight between Assad supporters and opponents

March 24, 2014 - 7:10:23 am
Smoke rises after an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad in Blleramoon district at the northern entrance to the city of Aleppo, yesterday. 

BEIRUT: One person was killed and 10 people were wounded in clashes in south Beirut yesterday between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, security sources said.

The fighting broke out before dawn between gunmen loyal to Shaker Barjawi, a Sunni Muslim who supports the Alawite president, and other Sunni Muslims who back the three-year uprising against Assad’s rule.

Residents heard the sound of loud gunfire and explosions coming from the Al Gharbi district of southern Beirut, where Barjawi has an office.

Security sources named the dead man as Nabil Hannash. Several other people including civilians were wounded in the clashes, they said. The army later deployed in the area and the clashes appeared to subside.

The fighting in Beirut follows a week of sustained violence in the northern city of Tripoli, where 27 people have been killed in fighting between Assad supporters and opponents that also dragged in the Lebanese army.

The conflict in Syria has spilled over into sectarian violence in its smaller neighbour between Sunnis who mostly back the Syrian rebels and Shias who support Assad.

Several car bombs have targeted Shia districts of Beirut and towns in the Bekaa Valley, most recently last Sunday when three people were killed in a stronghold of the Shia militant group Hezbollah. Security sources say many of the bombs were prepared in the Syrian rebel-controlled Qalamoun region, on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon.