Death and despair stalk Tripoli as fighting rages

Death and despair stalk Tripoli as fighting rages
2 min read
27 October, 2014
The northern Lebanese city has seen fierce fighting between the army and groups allied to IS.
Lebanese army operations are ongoing in central Tripoli [Anadolu]
Four civilians and ten military personnel have been killed in northern Lebanon since Friday night, according to medical sources. Dozens more were injured, and a number of off-duty military officers have been kidnapped, the army reported.

Residents of central Tripoli and Mineyah are caught in the middle of ongoing battles between the Lebanese army and
armed groups allied to the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS). 

"The Lebanese army insists on resolving the battle militarily, and negotiations being carried out by the Muslim Scholars' Committee have stalled," said a source inside the city.

Evacuation begins

Ammunition and weapons, including three car bombs and 50 explosive devices, have been unearthed in army raids using helicopters and naval vessels in support of ground forces.

The Lebanese army has given access to aid teams from the Red Cross and other relief organisations to evacuate the area of families trapped by the fighting. 

Mediators from the Muslim Scholars' Committee were holding talks between the army and insurgents to spare northern Lebanon further bloodshed.

"A ceasefire agreement with the military was reached during the afternoon," reported a source within the committee. "However, it was breached shortly afterwards for no obvious reason."

The efforts of the committee led to the al-Nusra Front declaring it would halt the decision to execute detained Lebanese army personnel.

Approximately 40,000 people live in Tabbaneh, one of the poorest areas of the city, and the focus of much of the violence. Thousands of desperate residents have been fleeing the area, according to the army.

"School buildings located in safe areas of Tripoli will be open for use as temporary shelters to people who fled their homes to escape the current clashes," announced Education Minister Elias Bou Saab.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic website