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Lebanon: Protesters flee at sound of gunfire00:47

Lebanon: Protesters flee at sound of gunfire

Lebanon, Sidon
June 29, 2013 at 08:46 GMT +00:00 · Published

Lebanon: Protesters flee at sound of gunfire

Scores of people took to the streets of the Lebanese city of Sidon, Friday, in support of Sunni cleric Ahmad Al-Assir, whose followers have engaged in fierce fighting with government forces this month. Similar gatherings were held in the northern city of Tripoli, as sectarian tensions over the conflict in neighbouring Syria continue.

The Sidon demonstration was dispersed when Lebanese troops fired in the air as protesters attempted to reach the mosque where Al-Assir gives his sermons. His compound has been under the control of the Lebanese military since Monday following two days of fighting between government troops and Al-Assir's followers, that left dozens of people dead. The cleric's whereabouts remain unclear.

Al-Assir's forces oppose what they see as the Lebanese army's alignment with Hezbollah, whose fighters have joined forces with President Bashar al-Assad's army in Syria where they are fighting against the majority-Sunni opposition forces.

Al-Assir suggests Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have formed a Shia sectarian alliance in the region. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah refutes the claim, saying Hezbollah's relations with Syria and Iran concern projects in the region and resistance to "US, Israeli and Takfiri plots".

Lebanon: Protesters flee at sound of gunfire00:47
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Lebanon: Protesters flee at sound of gunfire

Scores of people took to the streets of the Lebanese city of Sidon, Friday, in support of Sunni cleric Ahmad Al-Assir, whose followers have engaged in fierce fighting with government forces this month. Similar gatherings were held in the northern city of Tripoli, as sectarian tensions over the conflict in neighbouring Syria continue.

The Sidon demonstration was dispersed when Lebanese troops fired in the air as protesters attempted to reach the mosque where Al-Assir gives his sermons. His compound has been under the control of the Lebanese military since Monday following two days of fighting between government troops and Al-Assir's followers, that left dozens of people dead. The cleric's whereabouts remain unclear.

Al-Assir's forces oppose what they see as the Lebanese army's alignment with Hezbollah, whose fighters have joined forces with President Bashar al-Assad's army in Syria where they are fighting against the majority-Sunni opposition forces.

Al-Assir suggests Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have formed a Shia sectarian alliance in the region. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah refutes the claim, saying Hezbollah's relations with Syria and Iran concern projects in the region and resistance to "US, Israeli and Takfiri plots".