Death toll climbs as clashes escalate in Lebanon’s Tripoli
Deadly clashes between pro- and anti-Assad fighters have killed at least 24 people in the Northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon.
Reports say fightings escalated between between pro- and anti-Assad fighters overnight Friday.
Death toll reportedly climbs and the number of wounded accounted for is around 200 civilians since the fighting raged in the city on Sunday.
In addition, the Islamist group Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya launched a protest showing support to the Syrian rebels and deplored the meddling of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict.
Protestors reportedly burned Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah flags as the massive crowd chanted “God is great.”
Fighting from the Syrian conflict has spilled over into Lebanon which occurred between Lebanese opponents and supporters of the Syrian government. Reports say the spillover conflict has resulted in violent unrest and massive kidnappings in Lebanon.
United States deeply concerned about the insecurity in Lebanon
Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell has issued statement in Washington DC, saying the United States is deeply concerned about the situation in Lebanon.
He points out that the latest clashes in the northern city of Tripoli is a stark reminder that the conflict in Syria poses an increasingly dangerous threat to Lebanon’s stability and security.
He says the United States fully supports Lebanon’s security, stability, and sovereignty and welcomes efforts by Lebanon’s leaders to take all necessary steps to put an end to the violence in Tripoli.
The US strongly supports the Lebanese Armed Forces’ and Internal Security Forces’ efforts to stop the fighting in Tripoli and fully restore calm across the country.
“We call on all parties to do their part to restore calm, act with restraint, and respect Lebanon’s stability and security.” – Mr. Ventrell
In addition, the United States supports the principles of the 2012 Baabda Declaration and Lebanon’s dissociation policy with respect to the crisis in Syria.
The US calls on all parties in the region to avoid any actions that would exacerbate that crisis, increase the propensity for spillover violence, and negatively affect civilian populations.
Mr. Ventrell indicates that Hizballah leaders’ decision to escalate the group’s role in the fighting in Syria violates and undermines Lebanon’s dissociation policy and risks dragging Lebanon into a foreign conflict, to the detriment of the interests of the Lebanese people.
Lebanon ‘Overwhelmed’ by Flood of Syrian Refugees
The swelling number of Syrian civilians seeking refuge in Lebanon is proving to be an increasingly heavy burden on the East Mediteranean country, according to UN.
UN has voived concer over the spate of violence and kidnappings which have raised fears of renewed sectarian conflict in Lebanon.
Responding to the refugee crisis, UN assistance has doubled as displaced Syrians continued to flee the violence in their country and cross the border into neighbouring Lebanon.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported there is a huge increase of number of Syrian refugees arriving in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. Reports say about 2,200 people settling in the east last week.
In addition, the turmoil in Syria is forcing more and more people from their homes, with 30,000 people believed to have fled Syria into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq over the past week alone.
With growing influx of civilians fleeing from conflict, humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.
Reports say up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance.
UN estimates that there are over 1 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it’s an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.
There are over 66,000 refugees in neighboring countries and there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees, totaling about 500,000 inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 70,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.