TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Lebanese officials over the weekend surveyed damage caused by the sporadic clashes in Tripoli, vowing to return normalcy to the northern city, which has been plagued by Syria-linked fighting.
The head of state-owned telecom operator Ogero, Abdel-Menhem Youssef, toured several areas in the city and reassured citizens that repairs to the disrupted telephone networks, among other renovations, would be finalized this week.
“Our purpose today was to evaluate and survey the magnitude of the damage and the needed repairs,” Youssef told reporters.
Citing preliminary survey reports, Youssef described the damage as “very extensive,” including at least 600 phone lines and 12 phone booths.
“Initially the repairs will be finalized this coming Thursday,” he said, days after security forces lead by the Lebanese Army began implementing a security plan to restore stability to Lebanon’s second largest city.
The government-approved plan, which was drafted last month by the Higher Defense Council, has seen a heavy deployment by the Army and security forces in conflict zones as well as the detention of 200 wanted suspects.
A survey team from Ogero arrived in Tripoli Friday and examined the damage in the warring neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Youssef, who held a meeting with Ogero officials and city leaders, also toured the two areas and said citizens should be able to apply for new phone lines and Internet services by the end of the week.
The general-secretary of the Higher Defense Council, Mahmoud Kheir, also inspected the damage to tens of residential buildings, shops and other business badly affected as a result of the fighting.
He urged Tripoli residents to file for compensation, which would pave the way for the renovations to begin.
“We agreed to begin renovations along Syria Street as an initial plan, and we are asking citizens to help us so we could begin renovations in other areas,” Kheir told reporters.
“People should prepare the needed documents without any manipulation or committing fraud, otherwise they will be prosecuted."