Lebanon's Tripoli unrest claims more civilian lives
TRIPOLI - Twenty-six 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 said 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.
"Twenty-six people have been killed in 12 days of fighting, and 135 others injured," the security source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The dead were 18 civilian residents of Sunni Bab al-Tebbaneh, seven civilians from Jabal Mohsen and one soldier," said the source, adding that two children and two disabled people were among the civilians killed.
"There were also three fighters from Jabal Mohsen and six from Bab al-Tebbaneh 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".