Syria Protests Leaves 9 People Dead

At least nine people are reportedly dead in the mass rage in Syria on Friday, June 17 and the and continuous heated protests across the Lebanese and Turkish borders.

Protests largely affects several towns big and small across the country, including the Damascus area, Latakia, Homs and Hama, where thousands rallied, Abdelrahman said.

There were reports also of detained demonstrators and the military deployment of tanks as well as gunfire in a coastal city Banias.

The Syrian government has consistently blamed the protest casualties on "armed gangs".

Nearly 1,000 people in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli gathered Friday after prayers "in a demonstration in support for the Syrian people," the Lebanese National News Agency reported, and fighting ensued between Lebanese Alawites and Sunnis.

The Lebanese prime minister, Najib Nikati, said the army dispatched reinforcements to Tripoli neighborhoods to impose law and order.

The Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shiite Islam that dominates Syrian leadership; President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite. The majority of Syrians are Sunni Muslim.

There's been tension between the two groups in Lebanon. Alawites and Sunni/leftist militias fought at different junctures during the 1975-90 civil war until the Syrians established a presence there.

The majority of the Sunnis in Tripoli loathe the Syrian regime, but the Alawites in northern Lebanon thrived during the Syrian presence. Tensions have increased between the groups during the most recent Syrian crisis.

- Source