Clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli escalated Saturday night and shattered a day-old ceasefire in the latest round of fighting that has killed seven people.
According to security sources clashes using automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars erupted as Lebanese Army units were preparing to deploy in the mainly Alawite Jabal Mohsen district of Tripoli , where residents back Assad against the rebels s who are seeking an end to the Syrian president’s rule.
The fighting also resulted in the cutting off of all mobile communications in the city
Commenting on the unrest in the northern city, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani Saturday called for calm and urged residents of the city to cooperate with state institutions.
Lebanon caretaker Minister of Interior Marwan Charbel who visited the northern capital on Saturday called for formation of a new government as soon as possible , warning that the deadly unrest in Tripoli is “very dangerous” and that the entire country is in danger.
“There are some who want trouble in Lebanon, some media being among them, but there is something more important and what is happening in Tripoli is [grave] and is linked to regional [developments],” he said, in a reference to the conflict in Syria.
Charbel urged Speaker Nabih Berri to convene a session of Parliament to sign a pact that has the headline ‘Security in Lebanon’, particularly in Tripoli,”
Clashes between the residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen have been ongoing since May 2008, but have significantly escalated since the Syrian uprising began in 2011.