Tripoli fighters miss the days of battles, when there was work and action. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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In hiding, Tripoli's militiamen dream of fightingThe afternoon sun beats down on a group of men as they construct the walls of a children's playground by the seaside outside Tripoli. The plot of land Ali works on is owned by his militia's leader, and he is helping to build a wall by spreading cement over large concrete blocks, his three sons playing on a carousel a few meters away.Until recently, Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli was plagued by clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, spurred on by funding from local politicians using the fighting on the ground for personal or political gain. The Army is still after Ali's gang and has raided the property at least three times.While Ali's gang is defiantly holed up on Tripoli's outskirts, other figures linked to clashes are roaming free within the constraints of certain neighborhoods.Should clashes resume in Tripoli, such figures could come out of hiding and operate more freely in the city.Until that day comes though, fighters such as Ali will be forced to limit their movements.
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