04/23/2013, 00.00
LEBANON
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As Syrian rockets land in Lebanon, rebels accuse Hizbollah of waging war

More rockets hit the Bekaa Valley. The Syrian National Council accuses Hizbollah of fighting for Assad. Salafist sheikhs talk about setting up Lebanese Sunni militias to back Syrian rebels. Meanwhile in Tripoli, Christians and Muslims demonstrate united for peace.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) - After a day of truce, Free Syrian Army fired more rockets into northern Lebanon, two hitting the city of Hermel. No casualties were reported. Syrian rebels justified their attacks as retaliation against Hizbollah, which they accuse of siding with the Assad regime. For George Sabra, caretaker head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), "What is happening in Homs," he said, "is a declaration of war against the Syrian people".

Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied any involvement in the conflict, saying that his party's action in northern Lebanon is also designed to protect local Alawis.

Yesterday, two Lebanese Salafist leaders, Sheikh As'sir and Sheikh Ahmed Salem, fuelled tensions by calling for a jihad in defence of Syrian Sunnis and the creation of armed militias to counter Hizbollah.

Tripoli, a port city in northern Lebanon, some 50 km from the Syrian border, has also seen clashes between Sunnis and minority Alawis and Shias. In fact, as Syria's civil war intensified in the summer of 2012, the sectarian rivalry got worse.

With Hizbollah lining up with Assad and Sunni leaders speaking out, Syria's sectarian conflict could spill over into Lebanon.

President Michel Sleiman's office quoted the president as saying that "targeting Lebanon with missiles and rockers does not achieve demands related to democracy" in Syria.

A group of 50 diplomats left Beirut on Sunday for Damascus. The delegation, which included pro-Assad figures, is the largest Lebanon has sent to Syria since violence broke out in that country.

Also on Sunday, some 3,000 people of all ages and faiths marched against violence in the streets of Tripoli, waving red and white Lebanese flags and singing the national anthem.

At the end of the event, an olive tree was planted as a symbol of peace as children held up a banner, saying "We are all Lebanese: Sunnis, Alawis and Christians. We want to live in peace."

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