Four dead as clashes rage in Lebanon's Tripoli

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AFP) - At least four people have been killed in clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a security source told AFP, as fighting raged into a fourth day on Wednesday.

The source also reported that 35 people were wounded in the fighting between Sunni and Alawite residents of the flashpoint town on Tuesday.

The dead included two Sunni residents of the Bab el-Tebbaneh district, a third Sunni from elsewhere in the city, and an Alawite resident of the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood, the source said.

Local media reported that the overall death toll since the violence erupted on Sunday stood at 10, eight civilians and two Lebanese soldiers.

The army has been deployed in the area since the outbreak but has failed to halt the fighting in the town, where clashes have frequently broken out since the March 2011 beginning of the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

The largely Sunni city is home to a small community of Alawites, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

Clashes have often pitted residents of the Sunni district of Bab el-Tebbaneh against those from the neighbouring Alawite area of Jabal Mohsen.

The latest round began as the Assad regime launched an assault on the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, near the border with Lebanon.