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Syria‘s chaotic 3-year-old civil war pits Mr. Assad’s forces against a disunited array of rebel groups. Al-Qaeda-linked hard-liners have fought other groups as well as Kurdish militias who have taken advantage of the government’s weakness to cement control over territory dominated by the ethnic minority.

In neighboring Lebanon, another two people were killed by sniper fire during fighting between rival sects in the northern city of Tripoli, the official state news agency reported.

At least nine people have been killed since clashes flared earlier this week, security officials said.

Syria‘s civil war has effectively spread to Lebanon’s second-largest city, where it has inflamed tensions between two impoverished Tripoli neighborhoods, home to Assad opponents and supporters.

The Bab Tabbaneh district is largely Sunni Muslim, like Syria‘s rebels. The other neighborhood, Jabal Mohsen, mostly has residents of Mr. Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

The latest round of fighting began four days ago. Tensions had been mounting since Oct. 14, when a Lebanese military prosecutor pressed charges against seven men, at least one of whom was from Jabal Mohsen, for their involvement in twin bombings near two Sunni mosques in Tripoli on Aug. 23 that killed 47 people.

Lebanon shares its northern and eastern border with Syria. Lebanon’s Sunni leadership has mostly supported the rebels, while Alawites and Shiites have backed the Assad government. Members of all three sects have gone as fighters to Syria.

• Diaa Hadid reported from Beirut.