AFP | June 18, 2011
TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Soldiers deployed in force in Lebanon’s main northern city Tripoli Saturday after seven people were killed in clashes between Alawites and Sunnis over a rally against the Syrian government.
Twenty-five people were also wounded in the fighting which erupted hours after some 600 demonstrators gathered for a protest against Syria’s Alawite president, Bashar al-Assad, medics said.
Troops deployed from 3 am (0000 GMT) on the streets of the impoverished neighbourhoods of Bab Al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen both of which sustained severe damage in the overnight clashes, an AFP correspondent said.
The two districts have been the scene of repeated clashes between the rival pro- and anti-Syrian communities.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who has just formed a new government dominated by a pro-Syrian alliance and was in Tripoli, the city of his birth, when the fighting broke out, said civil peace was a “red line”.
Among those killed in the clashes, which involved automatic weapon and rocket-propelled grenade fire, were a Lebanese soldier, an official from a Alawite party and a 14-year-old Sunni boy.