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Lebanon: Week-long clashes kill 13 in Tripoli

29th Oct 2013

Clashes left two people dead in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli Monday as army troops continued to deploy throughout the city in a bid to end a week of violence that killed at least 13 and wounded more than 90.

State news reported that the army began on Sunday to take position inside the warring neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen under a hail of sniper fire in the latest phase of a protracted conflict that has killed hundreds in the last two and a half years.

Of the 13 killed since the fighting broke out last Monday, 10 are reported to be army troops, the National News Agency said, with residents expressing skepticism that the army could bring security to the area.

“This is all a joke. It is the eighteenth time since May, 2008 that they come to help. In fact, the army makes a small tour and then leaves. There is no solution,” Mustafa al-Hajj, a 69-year-old man told AFP on Syria Street, which separates the two neighborhoods.

“In the past eight days, 400 families have left Syria Street, including my own. We sleep under the stars, me, my wife and our three children, in a park in the city,” he said.

“Each month it’s the same thing,” he added despairingly.

The fighting is closely related to the war in Syria, with residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh backing Syria’s rebels and Jabal Mohsen supporting the government.

The most recent fighting broke out on October 21 as Beirut-based Al Mayadeen television aired an interview with Bashar al-Assad, in which he said the time is not ripe for a peace conference to try to resolve the 31-month conflict and said he was ready to run for re-election in 2014.

The violence prompted residents to flee the impoverished neighborhoods, and schools and universities have been closed since the middle of last week.

The NNA said some schools and businesses on the outskirts of the war zone reopened Monday.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

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