Welcome to Jabal Mohsen
Photo Blog by Haitham Moussawi
Those unfamiliar with the area of Jabal Mohsen in northern Lebanon might think they have mistakenly crossed the Syrian border. Pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad in military uniform, plain clothes, or sunglasses hang everywhere. Most members of the Islamic Alawi sect in Lebanon live in this area.
There are no accurate figures on the number of Alawis in Lebanon. Unofficial figures estimate the Alawi population at 70,000 to 120,000. Sixty percent of them live in the Jabal Mohsen area, which is a short distance from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. Roughly a third of the community live in the country’s northern Akkar region. Lebanon officially recognized Alawis as an Islamic sect – along with Sunnis, Shia, and Druze – nearly 75 years ago.
Ironically, a small street named Syria Street separates Jabal Mohsen from Bab al-Tebbaneh. Today, while separated by armed battles the two neighborhoods share extreme poverty and neglect from the state.