Clashes on Rise in Lebanon's Tripoli

Clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites are increasing in Lebanon as Syria's civil war continues.

Clashes between Sunni Muslims and Alawites are increasing in Lebanon as Syria's civil war continues.


An injured man stands on the main road of the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood in Tripoli, Lebanon, and looks toward Jabal Mohsen, a predominantly Alawite neighborhood. Alawites are the same sect as Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Many Sunni Muslims live in Bab al-Tabbaneh and support the rebels fighting the Assad regime. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Break from Battle

Sandbags enclose a shisha cafe in Bab al-Tabbaneh. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Bab al-Tabbaneh

In the Lebanese neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh, people use sandbags to shield their buildings from sniper fire. These children stand in front of a garage painted with the opposition-adopted Syrian flag, showing their support for the rebels. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Jabal Mohsen

Children take a break from building the sandbag walls in the Lebanese neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Closed Shop

Damaged storefronts line the main road in Bab al-Tabbaneh. Schools in both neighborhoods of Tripoli are closed and many residents have stopped going to work. Photo: Saskia de Melker


Abu Ali Zemar (center), leader of the Alawite gunmen, helps build a sandbag wall in the neighborhood of Jabel Mohsen. "We are preparing the battle could start at any minute," he said. Rumors of renewed fighting were spreading through the neighborhoods on Saturday when the PBS NewsHour visited. By Sunday, clashes began again. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Tanks at the Frontline

Tanks from the Lebanese Army block Syria Street, which separates the largely Sunni Muslim Bab al-Tabbaneh from the largely Alawite Jabel Mohsen. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Sniper Shooting

A bullet-ridden apartment building in Jabel Mohsen is almost completely abandoned and is being used as a sniper lookout. Photo: Saskia de Melker


Twenty-one-year-old Ziad Habshiti shows pictures of the gun he uses in Bab al-Tabbaneh battles. He wants to avenge the killing of his 13-year-old brother who was shot in the fighting. Photo: Saskia de Melker

Joining the Fight

Aboul Suleman manages a street cafe in Jabal Mohsen, but like most young men here, he also has taken up arms. "This is going to continue until the situation in Syria is settled and when President Assad wins in Syria, this will be over.," he said. Photo: Saskia de Melker