26 Oct 2013 08:00
In Lebanon’s second largest city, Tripoli, Alawites loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime battle with Sunni's that support the Free Syrian opposition that live within blocks of each-other. The proxy conflict in Tripoli began over 30 years ago during the Lebanese civil war under the Syrian military occupation. Many of the Sunni fighters have crossed into Syria to fight alongside the Free Syrian Army against the regime and its allies. Tripoli, is a city that directly reflects the sectarian divisions in neighboring Syria. WIth the bombings in both Tripoli and Beirut's Dahiyeh the sectarian arms race in Tripoli continues for weaponry for what they fear is going to be the worst fighting seen in the region. Alawites populate a hillside called Jabal Mohsen and the Sunnis live in Bab al Tebbaneh that rests in the valley at the base of the hill. Events in Syria easily trigger an exchange of sniper fire and sporadic mortar shelling. All militias engaged in the conflict are heavily armed with RPGs, mortars, and heavy machine guns. In one night, over 1,000 mortars were exchanged in Tripoli. The Lebanese army has returned repeatedly to try and stabilize the area resulting in many casualties without making headway. The army has created a buffer zone on the infamous Syria Street, which has served as a front line between the battling sects since the conflict began. The Sunni fighters are always in preparation for a final fight against their pro Assad regime Alawite neighbors.