TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad renewed in Tripoli Thursday evening after a relatively calm day, wounding at least nine people including six Army soldiers.
Five soldiers were shot near an Army checkpoint in Deir Ammar. The soldiers were rushed to nearby hospitals in critical condition. A sixth soldier was wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade hit an Army barrack.
Three other individuals were wounded in the fighting between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen.
Residents of the mainly Alawite Jabal Mohsen support Assad, while rivals in predominantly Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh are sympathetic with the Syrian opposition.
As efforts to put an end to the latest round of violence engulfing the city hit a dead end, the Army beefed up its presence to prevent the battles from expanding beyond the traditional fault lines and, in some instances, responded to fire targeting it.
Earlier, anxiety soared for the residents of Tripoli after several stun grenades disrupted the cautious calm that had prevailed in the city since the early morning hours.
Masked men on motorbikes hurled a stun grenade behind the Tripoli Municipality building and two others were hurled in the neighborhood of Dam and Farz. A fourth landed next to Al-Ramel cemetery.
Armed men also roamed the vegetable and jewelry markets, demanding that shops be closed in solidarity with the northern region of Wadi Khaled, where the Syrian army was firing on fleeing militants.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 21, 2014, on page 3.