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At the frontline of clashes

Rédigé le 08/06/2012 (dernière modification le 07/06/2012)

Tripoli, Lebanon – In an area of high tension where narcissism of minor differences governs daily life, the northern capital of Lebanon appears in preparation for something bigger than what became regular clashes. Psychological war is on a constant rise combining propaganda with threatening acts of vandalism, burning shops, throwing grenades here and there to spread terror, and enlarging the hit by utilizing mortars of about 7 Km reach. The Podcast Journal assessed the hot area for details.

Just a thin line! Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
Just a thin line! Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
podcast_frontline_clashes_tripoli.mp3 Podcast_frontline_Clashes_Tripoli.mp3  (225.59 Ko)

At least 8 died during the latest clashes between Bab El Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen with over fifty wounded. The first weekend of the month of June was like hell-on-earth in the capital of north Lebanon. Between the media race to ensure the latest info and the rumors circulating on both sides of the fighting parties, geopolitics keep playing the major role. However, the smell of fire and the sight of destruction ensure a crystal-clear truth, the approaching point of no return!

In an attempt to gain control and ensure the security of the area, the Lebanese army and the internal security joined forces to create a barrier between the two fighting parties who happened to be of two historically opposed groups of the same religion, namely Alawites and Sunni (for more details about the area and the demographics you may refer to our previous article “Gunshots in the North” written about a year ago). It is essential to note that Alawites of Jabal Mohsen are mainly in complete loyalty to the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al Assad, whereas Sunni of Bab El Tebbaneh are in full support of the Syrian people in their opposition to their own government.

Bab El Tebbaneh is an area of extreme poverty, and where poverty reigns criminality rate goes all the way up. The region is, therefore, rich ground for clashes especially when money and guns are pumped from parties in an attempt to project large scale apprehension onto smaller multiple areas in the Middle-East to prevent a wide form of war. On the other side, and only few meters away, Jabal Mohsen represents the Syrian regime in Lebanon notably when the leader of the Arab Democratic Party (the governing party in that region), Rifaat Eid, repeatedly announces his loyalty to the Syrian regime in his press conferences and states that the situation would not be solved without the help of the Syrian army (the regime’s army). In addition, many of the inhabitants of Jabal Mohsen have close parents in Syria and a large number of them have homes there, too.

Abou Omar lost his house. It was burnt because of a specific kind of gunshots. He had to find shelter for his wife and 3 children in a safer place at their relatives’. Look, he said, gunshots entered through the windows and burnt my house. Look at what is left from our clothes on the floor. Standing there to take photos our boots melted because of the heat that is still being produced 2 days after the fire.

One of the “fighters”, as they call themselves, led the way into the area of direct clashes. We were able to see how near opposing gunmen stand to shoot over each other. Barely 20 meters as the largest distance, and a wall as the closest, separate the fighting parties. Where are you taking him?, a voice shouted, who is he? Abou Omar assured the voice: don’t worry he’s a photojournalist, I brought him in. He works for an international media, but I can’t remember its name. Is it a TV?, asked the voice. No, photos only, replied Abou Omar.

The fear reigns inside. Every step you take toward the frontline is an additional ton of terror that weighs over you. It also affects the fighters who know, as it can be spotted into their eyes upon questioning, that another round is coming soon.

For a feel of the situation you may take a look at the photos we took in the below slideshow.

Music KARTA GORODA NE by Nastya Yasnaya

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