Lebanese soldiers stand in front of the house of Ali Eid, head of the Arab Democratic Party, in Tripoli, Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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In the main square of the mostly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen in Tripoli, insignia symbolizing allegiance to Syrian President Bashar Assad have vanished.Security sources told The Daily Star that both party figures were in Syria, confirming that Rifaat checked into the Sheraton Hotel in Damascus. Rumors of their departure surfaced two weeks ago, days before a government-backed security plan was slated for implementation in the area and its rival, the majority Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh. Militia leaders in Bab al-Tabbaneh did the same, one prominent sheikh told The Daily Star, and are believed to be hiding in Wadi Khaled.Several civilians from Jabal Mohsen have been shot by militants from Bab al-Tabbaneh in previous months as they were commuting to and from work.Residents expressed skepticism that the security plan would usher in a viable reconciliation with Bab al-Tabbaneh, considering that key players to broker such an accord, such as Eid, militia leaders and Sunni figures, including Saad Hariri, would not be party to it. Some residents of Jabal Mohsen interpret the departure of Rifaat Eid as a sacrifice, one he made to avoid a greater conflict that might have ensued had he been arrested.Ali lives in Hart al-Jadideh, the portion of Jabal Mohsen immediately overlooking Bab al-Tabbaneh.
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