Lebanon Truce: Gunmen Agree To Ceasefire In Tripoli
Lebanon’s army announced a truce between Sunni and Alawite Muslims, who began fighting two days ago from a spillover of tensions about the conflict in Syria.
The violence flared after an assassination in central Beirut of a top-Lebanese official who was outspoken against the Syrian government, reports Reuters.
While life was getting back to normal in the capital, with soldiers sweeping through the city and taking down barricades, clearing the streets of gunmen, violence still flared in Tripoli, the country’s northern city.
The car bombing and ensuing clashed between Sunni and Alawite fighters brought the Syrian conflict to the center of one of its neighboring countries, triggering a political crisis.
The opposition even demanded the resignation of the mostly pro-Assad cabinet of Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The fighting in Lebanon’s northern city took place between the areas of Bab al-Tabbaneh, a Sunni stronghold, and Jebel Mohsen, an Alawite district.
Both sides agreed to the truce in Lebanon after the army held discussions with them. Despite this, residents still reported hearing occasional gunfire as evening fell.
The Pakistan Daily Times notes that the army released a statement saying that they arrested 100 people since Sunday, including four Palestinians and 34 Syrians, in an operation targeted at getting guns off of the streets.
Soldiers also raided properties in both Beirut and Tripoli, where gunmen have been hiding, seizing weapons. Several soldiers backed by tanks were stationed on Tripoli’s streets, which have seen off-and-on fighting since the Syrian uprising began 19 months ago.
Tripoli’s Sunni Muslim population is in support of the Syrian opposition, whose goal it is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, who aligns himself with the Alawite Muslims, an off shoot of Shi’ite Islam.
Assad has the support of Hezbollah, a powerful Shi’ite Islamist group, who is currently part of the Mikati government in Lebanon. Many Lebanese citizens fear that the Syrian war will spill over into their borders, who saw 25 years of carnage during its own civil war between 1975 and 1990.