A woman walks in a street in Bourj Hammoud where a fighting took place on Saturday. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Ethnic tensions erupt in Burj HammoudThe stout, gray-haired man, who says he is "bigger than the mukhtar" in the community, stares coldly and speaks with authority. That sentiment boiled over during the weekend after Lebanese citizen Elias Kalash was knocked unconscious by a gas canister thrown by a Syrian Kurdish man.There are no exact figures details on how many Syrian Kurds live in Burj Hammoud.A sizeable Lebanese Kurdish community has been present in the area since before the start of the Syrian civil war.Locals claim the incident began when a drunken Syrian Kurdish man provocatively gawked at someone's fiance Saturday, prompting a group of Lebanese and Lebanese-Armenians to gather and try to break into a one-story house the Kurdish man was renting with his father and four brothers. The stabbing led to what Aprahamian describes as "vigilante lynch mobs" of mostly Lebanese Armenians attacking Kurds and Syrians, with the Kurdish community gathering in large groups to retaliate.Aprahamian says smaller incidents are also regular in the neighborhood and usually occur after locals claim a Kurd has verbally harassed a local woman.
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