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Fairouz fans angry over the diva's concert in Syria

The famous Lebanese singer traveled to Syria last week to appear in a six-day run beginning Monday at the Damascus Opera House.

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Fairouz: One of the Arab world's most popular singers.

Hussein Malla/Ap/File

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Revered throughout the Arab world for five decades, the much beloved and iconic Lebanese diva Fairouz has found herself embroiled in Lebanon's bitter crisis with Syria.

Fairouz, long the doyenne of Arab singers, traveled to Syria last week to appear in a six-day run beginning Monday at the Damascus Opera House of her classic 1970 musical "Sah al-Nom," an Arabic expression for "Did you sleep well?" Her appearance is a highlight of a series of cultural events in Syria this year to mark UNESCO designating Damascus as the 2008 Arab capital of culture.

Her decision to sing in Damascus, however, has caused a split in her huge fan base in Lebanon between those arguing that Fairouz should not perform before the rulers of a country blamed for a string of assassinations in Lebanon over the past three years, and others who maintain that the Lebanese diva is above politics and should sing wherever she wishes.

The spat hardened on Friday when a top Lebanese police officer became the latest victim of the bomb assassinations that have blighted Lebanon for over three years. Capt. Wissam Eid, head of the technical department in the paramilitary Internal Security Forces, died along with five other people when a powerful car bomb exploded beside his vehicle in a Beirut suburb.

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