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Syrian Helicopter Attacks Lebanon as Fears of Sectarian Civil War Deepen

Analysts are warning that Hezbollah’s sustained involvement in Syria on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime risks pulling Lebanon into a sectarian civil war similar to the country’s devastating 15-year conflict.

It is sectarianism, Shi’ism, but not Lebanonism. In the moment of truth the Hezbollah chose sect and religion over state, and this is why they shed so much blood, of themselves and of Sunnis in Syria, particularly in Al-Qusayr and Homs. This is why the Sunnis in Tripoli are back in arms, soon in Beirut and Sidon, and Lebanon may very well be thrown again to the reality of a devastating civil war.

In recent days fighters from both sides of the Syrian conflict have directly attacked Lebanese territory. Last week mortars and missiles thought to be fired by Syrian opposition forces slammed into Hezbollah-dominated areas of Lebanon.

Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict has drawn criticism from several Western governments. In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, a senior Syrian rebel commander warned that his fighters were ready to move the battles into Lebanon to confront Hezbollah members fighting alongside the Syrian regime forces.

Today a Syrian helicopter attacked the largely Sunni city of Arsal in Lebanon, injuring two. Rebel fighters injured in Syria are known to have sought treatment in the city.

[Photo: FreedomHouse2 / Flickr]