Army Starts Removing Jabal Mohsen Barricades, Eid Voices Reservation and Kabbara Gives 48-Hour Ultimatumإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Army units on Tuesday launched a crackdown on gunmen in Jabal Mohsen and started removing barricades and sandbags from the Tripoli neighborhood, ahead of taking the same measures in the adjacent districts.
Abdul Latif Saleh, spokesman for the Arab Democratic Party, the main political and military force in Jabal Mohsen, welcomed the step but demanded a similar crackdown in the rival neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh.
For his part, ADP secretary-general Rifaat Eid voiced reservation over the army's step during an interview with OTV.
“I was informed by the Army Command, through Brig. Gen. Amer al-Hasan, that the army will take measures and he asked me whether we have a problem with that and I said no,” Eid said.
“But I want to ask the Army Command: why do things always start from Jabal Mohsen while nothing has been done on the other frontier,” he added.
Security sources told MTV later on Tuesday that the removal of barricades and sandbags from Jabal Mohsen will be followed by the removal of barricades from Bab al-Tabbaneh and all frontiers.
Future TV said “some army troops were wounded in a clash with gunmen in Jabal Mohsen."
Earlier on Tuesday, Tripoli MP Mohammed Kabbara gave a 48-hour ultimatum for the state to control the situation in Tripoli.
“The residents of the city will have to defend themselves if the battles continued,” Kabbara said after heading a meeting for the National Islamic Gathering.
The lawmaker accused President Michel Suleiman, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati and Army Commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji of cooperating with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“We call on officials to assume their responsibilities as it is their task to maintain the country's unity and the safety of its residents,” Kabbara told reporters.
The statement issued by the attendees expressed surprise that the security deterioration in Tripoli is ongoing despite all the appeals to end the chaos.
“The army should respond to snipers by firing at them and not just giving them warning gunshots,” the MP said.
A new wave of Syria-linked clashes between Sunni and Alawite residents of Tripoli has killed at least six people in less than 24 hours.
The latest confrontations come after a brief lull in the violence between the two sides, after a flare-up last month left 31 people dead and more than 200 wounded.
The fighting in Tripoli, which has flared sporadically since the beginning of the Syria conflict in March 2011, has largely been confined to the neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Kabbara, who read the statement, stressed that the state should not tolerate the “killers that are assassinating the city.”
He urged Suleiman to call on the Higher Defense Council to hold an emergency meeting to set a clear plan to end the “city's tragedy.”
The statement also described the residents of Jabal Mohsen as a “criminal gang that is implementing the orders of Iran and Syria.”
The city has so far witnessed around 17 rounds of fighting which intensified when the now more than two-year conflict erupted in Syria.
For the first time last month, supporters and opponents of Assad lobbed mortar shells and fired heavy machine guns at each other.