Charbel: We Made a Mistake in Not Limiting Syrian Refugees to Camps

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel admitted on Tuesday that the authorities had miscalculated in not building camps to house Syrian refugees escaping the fighting in their country.

In remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3), Charbel said: “We should have kept Syrian refugees in tents and provided them with all the necessary humanitarian assistance and medical aid … to contain the security violators that are present among them.”

“We made a mistake in dealing” with the issue, he said in response to a question on the presence of Syrian nationals among the casualties in the recent fighting in the northern city of Tripoli.

The clashes between the rival neighborhoods of the majority Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, whose residents are from the Alawite sect of Syrian President Bashar Assad, erupted on Sunday.

“We thank the army for dealing strongly with the gunmen in Tripoli,” Charbel said. It “thought them a lesson that we hope they would never forget.”

“All Tripoli residents want the army to prevent attacks on citizens and mainly security forces,” Charbel added.

The army command said Monday that two soldiers were killed in the neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh in Tripoli.

It said the military sought to implement a security plan to contain the clashes in the northern city.

The army rejected “any use of weapons against the legitimate armed forces” and urged residents to fully cooperate with security forces to “safeguard their security and foil the conspiracies that are being plotted against them and the city.”

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