The battle of Sidón

by Sebastian Castañeda

The bloody clashes between the Lebanese army and the followers of Imam Al Asir with Sunni militants in the country's south left at least 38 people dead, 50 wounded,  and part of the historic port city of Sidon under the rubble.

Soldiers arrested 110 suspected extremist Islamists.It was the largest armed conflict in Lebanon since the war started more than two years ago.
Clashes between the army and the followers of Imam Al Asir began last Sunday about 40 miles south of Beirut on the Mediterranean Sea , in the heart of Sidon .

Sidon has a predominantly Sunni's population but is entrenched into a Shiite -majority region with strong presence of the Shiite Islamist movement Hezbollah and its armed militia .
For months Sunni Imam Al Asir used the Bilal bin Rabah mosque in the district of Abra to preach against Hezbollah and Syrian involvement in the conflict in support of President Bashar Al Assad.

Despite representing a motley ideological arch , most of today fighting insurgents in Syria to overthrow the Assad government are Sunni , and many of the Syrians fled to Lebanon settled in Palestinian refugee camps , as the that exists in the outskirts of Sidon .
The Syrian National Coalition , a leading Syrian opposition coalitions abroad Sidon clashes linked to the civil war in Syria and urged Syrian refugees in Lebanon not to get involved in the Syrian internal conflict and avoid areas controlled by Hezbollah.

The tension in Sidon spread north of the country, cum shots in the air and on the streets of the city of Tripoli , the epicenter of violence hitherto imported into Lebanon from Syria.
 
Building bombed by the fighting between the Lebanese army and the followers of the Salafi Sheikh Imam Al Asir.
 
Members of the Lebanese army patrol the streets of Sidon after the confrontation.
Man hides under the counter of his restaurant to protect against bullets.
Sidon residents, frightened by machine gun fire from the Lebanese army.
Followers of the Salafi Sheikh Imam Al Asir, walks next to a vehicle destroyed by fighting.
Two children observed the destruction of his father's restaurant, caused by bombing.
 
Sidon Family terrorized by machine-gun fire from the Lebanese army.
Crying girl scared to hear the machine-gun fire from the Lebanese army.
Followers of the Salafist Sheikh Iman al Asir, protest showing a photograph of their leader against the Lebanese army.