Last updated: 24 March, 2014

26 dead over 12 days in Lebanon’s Tripoli

Twenty-seven people, most of them civilians, have been killed in 12 days of clashes between pro- and anti-Damascus fighters in Lebanon’s second city Tripoli, a security source told AFP Monday.

Snipers from both sides were still deployed in flashpoint areas of the northern port city, as the fighting subsided on Monday for the first time in nearly two weeks.

Tripoli has seen intense sectarian clashes since the war in neighbouring Syria erupted three years ago, with gunmen from the Sunni district of Bab al-Tebbaneh battling fighters in the Alawite area of Jabal Mohsen.

The fighting killed 27 people and wounded 134 people, the security source said, updating an earlier toll after a civilian died of his injuries.

The dead were 19 residents of Sunni Bab al-Tebbaneh, including six fighters, and seven residents of Jabal Mohsen, including three combatants.

In addition, a soldier was killed, said the source, adding that two children and two disabled people were among the civilians killed.

On Sunday, amid a relative calm, the army raided several homes, hunting for militants.

Shops and schools in the flashpoint neighbourhoods remained closed on Monday, but they reopened across the rest of the city for the first time in days.

The international highway from Tripoli to Syria was also reopened Monday, but roads linking the city’s warring neighbourhoods remain sealed off.

The army has been deployed in Tripoli for several weeks to try to bring peace to the flashpoint districts, but troops have repeatedly come under fire.

Lawmakers from the city have called the latest round of fighting “a war of attrition”.

Dominated by Damascus for nearly 30 years, Lebanon is deeply divided over the war in neighbouring Syria. Hezbollah and its allies support President Bashar al-Assad, and the Sunni-led opposition backs the revolt.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Syria-related violence in Lebanon in the past three years.