BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri hailed Tuesday the Army's measures to restore calm in the northern city of Tripoli, the scene of violent clashes throughout the past week.
“The measures that the Lebanese Army started implementing in Tripoli are a good and necessary initiative that puts us on the right track to ending the constant attempts to tamper with the city’s security and stability,” Hariri said in a statement.
He added that Army's deployment in Tripoli “restores the role of the state in protecting the citizens and ending the chaotic armament supported by well-known sides that constitute the military and security arm of the Syrian regime in Lebanon.”
The Lebanese Armed Forces deployed earlier Tuesday in Syria Street, the main thoroughfare separating the embattled rival neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh.
The deployment came after relative calm prevailed overnight in the northern city following weeklong clashes that left 16 dead and scores wounded.
Hariri called for completing further security measures intended for the northern city as part of a recently launched security plan.
“We look forward with all of Tripoli's residents to completing these measures and to dealing firmly with any side or group that moves to violate the security plan and to obstruct the deployment of the Army and the security forces in the neighborhoods of the city and the areas that witnessed tension,” he said.
The military has yet to deploy inside Tripoli’s neighborhoods.
Hariri also slammed critics of his statement last week that the Army should not be a "false witness" in what he called "Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s war against Tripoli."
“Some sides have claimed to be concerned with the Army, but the state's role will never become more honest and attached to the Army and its national role than the Future Movement and its supporters,” he said.
“The Future Movement has never once sought to form its own state at the expense of the army or the state,” he stressed.
Charbel on Monday dismissed Hariri’s remarks that the Lebanese Army has become a false witness, saying that soldiers have given their lives in Tripoli's repeated clashes over the past two years. Rather, Charbel said, “politicians have become false witnesses to a rotten political reality, whereby there is no Cabinet, no Parliament and no elections.”
Hariri also said that Tripoli will no longer accept being a victim of armed clashes and it will no longer accept temporary measures that will only temporarily halt unrest.
Last week's bout of violence in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, errupted between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad following a televised interview with the Syrian leader aired on Oct. 21.
This is the 17th round of fighting between the Sunni-dominated Bab al-Tabbaneh and the Alawite stronghold of Jabal Mohsen since the crisis began in Syria in March of 2011.