March 14 Blames Syria for Tripoli Clashes, Demands Arab, Intl’ Aid to Control Lebanese-Syrian Border

The March 14 General Secretariat condemned on Wednesday the recent clashes in Tripoli, accusing Syria of being behind the unrest as it is seeking to spread its crisis to Lebanon.

It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “The unrest was sparked at the order of Syrian President Bashar Assad in order create violence in Lebanon and the region in response to his collapse on the internal scene.”

It also accused Assad of seeking to portray Tripoli as a terrorist hub in order to tarnish the image of its residents who have supported the Syrian revolt and harbored Syrian refugees.

Furthermore, the general secretariat condemned the manner in which the General Security Department lured Shadi al-Mawlawi to an office of Finance Minister Mohammed Safadi’s welfare association where he was soon arrested.

It said: “It is clear that this manner of conduct was aimed at provoking those concerned to force them to retaliate in a way that would not be easily contained.”

Clashes ensued between the rival Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods in Tripoli in light of al-Mawlawi’s arrest, leaving nine dead and at least 50 wounded.

The March 14 forces demanded that a transparent investigation be launched in the arrest, urging all sides involved in the clashes to exercise restraint.

It hoped that the army would enter all areas that witnessed clashes and to deal with the perpetrators “without discrimination.”

Moreover, it noted that the clashes served as a reminder of the problem of the spread of illegitimate arms in Lebanon, demanding that Lebanon be stripped of all illegal weapons “in order for normal and democratic life to be restored.”

Addressing the various security incidents that have taken place along the Lebanese-Syrian border and the infiltration of Syrian troops into Lebanese border towns, the general secretariat said that the violations have demonstrated the “powerlessness” of the state and security agencies in protecting the border.

The March 14 General Secretariat therefore demanded the aid of the Arab and international communities to this end, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions 1550, 1680, and 1701.

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