Aoun: We Don't Wish to See Syria Dominated by Takfirist Groups

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Sunday called on the Lebanese parties to distance themselves from the Syrian conflict, amid deadly Syria-linked clashes in the northern city of Tripoli.

“We must distance ourselves from the conflict in Syria and we don't wish to see it ruled by takfirist groups,” said Aoun during a meeting with a group of dentists who won the elections of the Lebanese Dental Association earlier in the day.

“The Arab Spring is not a spring because of the chaos that happened and this 'creative chaos' is what the Americans had promised us,” Aoun added.

But he noted that “we have benefited from the 1970s experience and we will not repeat the mistake.”

“We don't wish to see Syria being dominated by takfirist groups,” said Aoun.

“We must distance ourselves from the events in Syria to avoid being dragged into the conflict and some parties are not abiding by that,” he added.

Sectarian clashes linked to the 21-month conflict in Syria killed six people and wounded 40 in the northern city of Tripoli on Sunday.

The latest fighting in the city between Sunni Muslims and Alawite co-religionists of Syrian President Bashar Assad came amid growing international concern about the potential for neighboring countries to be dragged into the conflict.

Sunni residents of the port city's Bab al-Tabbaneh district exchanged machinegun and rocket fire with Alawite residents of the neighboring Jabal Mohsen district leaving three members of each community dead.

The latest deaths brought the toll from fighting in the city since Tuesday to 19, including two children.

Longstanding tensions in Tripoli escalated when 22 Sunnis from the Tripoli area who had crossed into Syria to join the armed rebellion against Assad's rule were ambushed by troops in the town of Tall Kalakh on November 30.

Damascus later agreed to repatriate the bodies at the request of the Lebanese foreign ministry, and on Sunday the corpses of three of the slain fighters were received at the Arida border crossing.

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