TRIPOLI: Renewed clashes between rival neighborhoods in the northern city of Tripoli Saturday raised the death toll to nine as dozens of families to fled to safer areas.
After a brief lull in the morning, sniper and mortal fire picked up again between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.
Mortars struck several homes along Syria Street, which separates the warring factions, prompting dozens of families to flee their homes for safer areas of the city.
The Army blocked the highway linking Tripoli to the northern region due to intensive sniper fire as soldiers continued to respond to sources of gunfire. Soldiers also blocked the Talaat al-Omari road and Al-Biqar-al-Jabal Street with barbed wire.
Schools and universities remained closed, with a few shops in unaffected areas remaining open. Armored vehicles were seen patrolling the deserted city streets.
Fighting erupted Thursday following the fatal shooting of Jabal Mohsen resident Walid Barhoum. Among those killed in clashes was a 10-year-old girl.
Militants from Bab al-Tabbaneh, a predominantly-Sunni neighborhood known for its support for the armed Syrian opposition, have engaged in multiple rounds of fighting with Alawite fighters from Jabal Mohsen, which enjoys strong links to the Syrian regime.
The three-day clashes mark the 20th round of fighting in Tripoli since the uprising against Assad began in March of 2011.
Earlier in the day, a man identified as Abdullah Keserwani was shot by a sniper and killed while passing under the Malloula Bridge, a security sources told The Daily Star. Several others died from their wounds, raising the death toll to nine with some 60 others wounded.
Amid heavy gunfire family and friends of Keserwani carried his body, wrapped in white, through the city for the burial procession.