BEIRUT — Rival pro-Syrian militiamen fought in northern Lebanon on Friday, killing eight people and wounding more than 20 in an outbreak of violence stemming from a power struggle inside the Syrian National Social Party.
Police said fighting erupted at dawn when followers of party leader Issam Maheiri attacked positions held by members loyal to Jubran Jreish, a powerful figure backed by Libya and Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Political sources said the fighting appeared to stem from a dissident movement led by Jreish within the Lebanese branch of the party.
Syrian troops--part of a 25,000-strong force which deployed in northern Lebanon in 1976--intervened as a buffer force among the dissidents in a bid to contain the violence.
The fighting started with skirmishes at dawn and later escalated into fierce battles.