The Lebanese army pulled out its troops from Tripoli Wednesday, ceasing its patrols in the city’s streets and its interventions in the crossfire, after clashes overnight left five people dead and many wounded.
“The army is being subjected to a campaign to sow distrust by some in Tripoli and the north, without anyone seriously defending [the army] to help put a stop to this campaign. This will make the situation much worse,” a security source told Al-Akhbar.
The military decided to pull out after its patrol units were targeted, leaving a few soldiers dead and many wounded, the source said.
Schools and shops remained closed Thursday, Lebanon’s National News Agency said, as sniping continued on the main streets between the fronts.
Meanwhile Thursday, Internal Security Forces Director General Roger Salem and the commander of the northern region, Mahmoud Annan, met to discuss the security situation in Tripoli in the presence of other generals and officers, NNA reported.
Wednesday saw the heaviest fighting between Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh this week, as five people were killed in the crossfire between the two neighborhoods. The NNA reported six dead.
Thursday marked the fifth consecutive day of violence in Tripoli, which started on Sunday over news of fighters deployed in Qusayr being killed or attempting to flee the area.
At least 16 people have been killed since the fighting began Sunday.
Tripoli has been rocked by deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government when the conflict started two years ago.