Lebanon working to restore order to Tripoli

Dec. 2, 2013 at 11:27 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Lebanon's interior minister said Monday the military should restore order to the city of Tripoli, gripped by violence between pro- and anti-Syrian elements.

Minister Marwan Charbel said the military should strike with an "iron fist" to restore order to Tripoli, The Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon reported.

More than 100 members of a special police unit accompanied 480 regular policemen to Tripoli to respond to weekend clashes that left at least 12 people dead and 100 others wounded.

The Daily Star reported the situation was relatively calm Monday. Conflict erupted last weekend between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Rifaat Eid, a leader from the pro-Syrian Arab Democratic Party, warned in early November conflict in Tripoli could lead to a national civil war. Members of his party were charged last month with helping coordinate August bombings in Tripoli said to be the work of Syrian intelligence officials.

The ADP said the government in Beirut was ignoring the plight of Alawites, a Shiite sect, because of pressure from Sunni leaders in Saudi Arabia.

Syria's president is an Alawite.

Lebanon broke free of Syrian domination with its Cedar Revolution in 2005. Civil war raging in neighboring Syria has threatened to spill over Lebanon's borders.

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