Lebanon deploys troops to Tripoli amid unrest

A picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and a Syrian national flag are seen on a street as Lebanese army soldiers patrol the Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood. (File photo: Reuters)

In the first phase of a plan to quell rising Syria-linked violence in Tripoli, Lebanese troops were deployed on Tuesday to the restive area.

Ministers approved the military operation last week to the city where 30 people were killed during fighting in March.

The outbreak of violence, which is between the neighboring districts of Jabal Mohsen and Bab el-Tabbaneh, originates from decades-old sectarian tensions, fueled by the Syrian war.

A security source said the troops, backed by helicopters, entered Jabal Mohsen at dawn.

"Troops set up checkpoints and carried out searches for weapons," he said, adding that they were expected to deploy in Bab el-Tebanneh on Wednesday.

As the troops carried out searches, two army helicopters patrolled overhead, he added.

The source said the army was also targeting individual homes such as that of Rifaat Eid, the political leader of the Alawite Arab Democratic Party.

Eid's father Ali is also wanted for questioning in connection with a twin car bomb attack against two Sunni mosques in August that left 45 people dead.

Mohsen residents, who are Alawites, support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Bab el-Tebbaneh, who are Sunni, largely support the Sunni-dominated uprising against Assad.

Alawites make up 11 percent of the port city's population. Sunnis account for 80 percent.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43