SIDON, Lebanon: A shootout between a Palestinian and Syrian refugees at a housing complex in Sidon that wounded three people raised concerns Sunday about safety and security in the southern city.
Palestinian Louay Mansour, an activist at the Humanitarian Association for Refugees in the Ouzai complex, quarreled Saturday night with three Syrian workers who reside at the refugee center that was being expanded, security sources told The Daily Star.
The dispute escalated into a shootout that wounded Mansour and two Syrians who were identified as Shaher Saeed and Mohammad al-Aweed.
In a statement issued Sunday, the Army said Mansour, nicknamed Abou Khaled, shot in the direction of the complex and wounded two Syrian nationals at 10:40 p.m.
The sources said soldiers arrested the shooters and cordoned off the area where the incident took place.
Sources familiar with the incident said Mansour was supervising the Syrian laborers doing construction work at the complex to make room for additional refugee families who had recently arrived in Sidon.
The dispute that sparked the shootout, according to the sources, centered on the Syrian workers’ failure to abide by their work agreement with Mansour.
Mansour, the sources said, refused to pay the laborers overtime after the Syrians failed to carry out the work they had been assigned.
Angered, the Syrians lured the Palestinian to the complex and demanded Mansour pay up. The quarrel soon developed in a shootout.
Security sources told The Daily Star the presence of armed Syrian refugees at the complex was a dangerous development and one that threatens civil peace in the coastal city.
One security source said swift measures were needed to prevent the complex from "from turning into a terror den."
A number of refugee workers who spoke on condition of anonymity also voiced concern that the presence of weapons at the complex posed a danger to nearby schools in the area.
In a statement, the Association of Refugee Centers in Sidon condemned the incident and said the complex was managed by Premiere Urgence, a U.N.-funded medical non-governmental organization.
It asked security and judicial bodies to investigate the shooting and punish the perpetrators, deploring the presence of weapons among women and children.
"The Association confirms that cover must be lifted from anyone who threatens security and calls on security agencies to provide all refugee groupings in Sidon with security," the statement said.