Lebanon has deployed troops to the northern city of Tripoli after at least 12 people were killed in fierce clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, local medics and security sources said.
Residents said relative peace had returned to the city since the soldiers deployed at around 7am local time (04:00 GMT) on Sunday, after gunmen exchanged heavy fire and rocket propelled grenades.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Tripoli, said an “uneasy calm” had set in after the fighting.
“The Lebanese army has been deployed, but if you talk to anyone, they will say this is just a temporary truce,” Khodr said on Sunday.
“The clashes really have become more and more frequent over the last few months. This conflict really is far from over,” our correspondent added.
The latest clashes began after midnight on Friday and continued throughout Saturday until the army deployment.
Residents of the neighbouring districts have clashed repeatedly in recent weeks, but Saturday’s death toll is the highest in a single day in Tripoli, raising fears that Syria’s unrest was spilling over into its smaller neighbour.
Among the dead were a woman and her son, killed by a rocket in the Bab al-Tabanneh district, a mostly Sunni Muslim community which supports Syria’s opposition, a security official said.
At least five were wounded in Jabal Mohsen, an area mainly populated by Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.(more of the article)