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Clashes in northern Lebanon leave at least 9 dead

Fighting in northern Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has left at least nine people dead and over a dozen injured.

Syria lebanon jihad 2012 5 17Enlarge
Lebanese army troops enter Bab al-Tebbaneh, one of two rival neighbourhoods in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, on May 15, 2012 to order battling gunmen off the streets. Five people were killed and nearly 20 wounded in sectarian clashes linked to unrest in neighbouring Syria the previous day, according to a security official. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Fighting in northern Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad early today left at least nine people dead and dozens injured, according to Reuters

Gun battles accompanied by rocket fire broke out in the northern coastal city of Tripoli in the early hours today, security and medical officials told the Agence France Presse, with some residents forced to leave their homes to escape the violence.

Reuters said the violence killed at least nine people left some 40 wounded in the port city. 

Skirmishes were also reported in the Sunni Muslim district of Bab al-Tebbaneh, where the population supports the various rebel groups in Syria seeking to overthrow Assad’s predominantly Alawite Shi’ite regime, said AFP. Five others were wounded in Tripoli’s Shi’ite Jabal Mohen neighborhood, where most of the population support Assad.

More from GlobalPost: Syria in danger of 'full-fledged conflict,' says UN's Navi Pillay

Violence between members from both communities has flared up sporadically since the beginning of Syria’s uprising 14 months ago.

Across the border, activists told the Associated Press that Syrian troops had fired shells at a number of villages in Houla, where the United Nations says more than 100 people – half of them children – were massacred on May 25.

Calls to bring an end to the Syrian crisis have gained greater urgency since, and in Qatar the head of the biggest opposition group in exile said he would welcome military action by Arab states to halt Syrian government attacks on both rebels and civilians. 

More from GlobalPost: Syrian rebel group claims kidnap of Lebanese Shia pilgrims

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/lebanon/120602/clashes-in-northern-lebanon-leave-at-least-one-dead