TRIPOLI, Lebanon - Two men were killed and at least 20 were wounded in clashes between Alawite supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Sunni Muslim fighters in the Lebanese city of Tripoli, medical sources said on Monday.
Fierce clashes overnight shook the northern port city and sporadic fighting continued on Monday morning, with fighters firing machineguns and rocket propelled grenades.
Tension between the Alawite and Sunni communities in Tripoli has been fueled by the unrest in neighboring Syria, where Assad is seeking to crush a 14-month-old uprising which began with largely peaceful protests but has become increasingly militarized.
Assad is from the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, while Syria's revolt has been led by Syria's majority Sunni Muslims.
A small Alawite minority is concentrated in Tripoli, a conservative Sunni city where many residents have been enraged by the Syrian government's crackdown on the mainly Sunni revolt