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Lebanon: Dancing into the Abyss

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 20 February 2014

The war in Syria has affected all of its neighbours, but none more so perhaps than Lebanon, where car bombs and assassinations over the last few months are directly connected to the fighting across the border. Just like Syria's others neighbours, Lebanon has received a flood of refugees, and the numbers are staggering - 1 in 4 residents are now Syrian refugees. But unlike Jordan and Turkey, the Syria spillover in Lebanon goes well beyond a refugee crisis or the occasional border clash because of the deeply intertwined history of the two countries.

For some 30 years, Syria occupied Lebanon, forging deep alliances and making sworn enemies. For Assignment, Kim Ghattas travels through her native country to understand why the Lebanese are living Syria's war like their own and explore the effect the Syrian conflict is having on Lebanon's different communities. She visits a Shia family in the Hezbollah dominated district of the capital, talks to Sunni fighters in Tripoli and Christians worried about their future as well as the son of an assassinated politician.

(Image: Omar (left) and Ronnie Chatah (centre) at their father's funeral. Credit: Associated Press)

  • Rising radicalism in Tripoli

    Assignment-Lebanon Dancing into the Abyss

    Kim Ghattas and producer Jane Beresford meet Sunni Sheikh Nabil el Rahim in Tripoli. There is concern in the community that young men from the city who are fighting with the Syrian rebels across the border will return to Lebanon radicalised and bring the war back with them, taking revenge on members of the Shia community who fought to support Syrian President Assad.

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