A prominent Beirut-based professor tells Press TV that the latest deadly clashes in Tripoli in north Lebanon between the pro and anti-Syrian forces show that the anti-Syrian Salafists in Lebanon are now trying to settle scores with the pro-Syrian elements.
At least five more people have been killed during the latest clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. The Lebanese army units are tracking down pro- and anti-Assad gunmen and have managed to seize a quantity of machine guns, hand grenades, ammunition, and military equipment. Tripoli has been the scene of clashes between the two groups over the past months. Several people have been killed and injured in the clashes and the fighting has forced residents to leave the volatile neighborhoods.
Press TV has talked with Hilal al-Khashan, professor of the American University of Beirut from Beirut to further discuss the issue at hand. What follows is an approximate transcription if the interview.
Press TV: If we are looking at what is happening it is obvious that it is attributed to the spillover effect from Syria but how dangerous is this? How much further can it escalate based on your opinion?
Khashan: Well, the situation in northern Lebanon has always been tense, especially for the past couple of years.
Now the latest round of violence in Tripoli comes in the aftermath of the incident on border with Syria when a group of 22 Salafists were killed by the Syrian army and it appears as if the Salafi movement in northern Lebanon, especially in Tripoli, wants to settle score with the pro-Syrian regime supporters in the capital.
Now we have a new front in Tripoli and that is very alarming and the [Lebanese] army has not been able to contain the violence, so we are bracing ourselves for the worst.
Khashan: Yes, I mean the friction had been there since [for] four years but it has accelerated since the beginning of the Syrian uprising and clashes [have] occurred over the past two years but now with the latest incident on the border with Syria, it appears as if the anti-regime of Syria [forces] in northern Lebanon have taken matters to a new dimension of hostilities.