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World

Lebanon's fight against I.S. risks sectarian war

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World

Lebanon's fight against I.S. risks sectarian war

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COMING UP:Lebanon's fight against I.S. risks sectarian war

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> Lebanese soldiers facing jihadist militants near the Syrian border. These hills are a forgotten front in Syria's civil war. Around 1,000 Sunni militants, both from Islamic State and the group formerly known as Nusra Front, have come from Syria where they're fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces. They see these mountains as a strategic base and the Lebanese army, their enemy.
00:00:27
The jihadists accuse Lebanon of supporting President Assad and Shiite group Hezbollah. But Lebanon with a mixed Sunni and Shiite population risks secretarian tension if it starts a fight with Sunni militants. Reuters' Angus McDowell is at the border where the two factions are at a standoff.>> Just below this position is the town of Arsal in Lebanon's northeast.
00:00:52
In it are something like 35 to to 70,000 Lebanese residents. But also around 70,000 Syrian refugees living in something like 17 camps dotted around the town. The risk of militant violence coming across the border from Syria and into Lebanon is one that the Lebanese army has to take very seriously.
00:01:19
There have been explosions in some Lebanese cities in recent years caused by bombs. And it is right here around Arsal that the army encounters those militant groups on the front line.>>
FOREIGN]
> Many Lebanese Sunnis resent the dominance of Shiite Hezbollah, saying it has cut them from power and perpetuated Syrian influence.
00:01:45
The army has so far maintained its neutral position, and that is the main reason holding the country together.