TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Protesters took to the streets of Tripoli Friday to express solidarity with the anti-regime uprising in Syria, one week after a cease-fire aimed at ending clashes in the northern city was agreed.
The fighting, which left 17 dead and over 120 wounded, including 11 soldiers, saw gunmen loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, from the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood, clash with anti-Assad gunmen from the Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh.
A protest called by Hizb ut-Tahrir Friday gathered hundreds of Lebanese outside Mansouri Mosque to condemn last week’s alleged massacres in Daraya, near Damascus.
Last weekend, Syrian rebels reported the initial discovery of 320 bodies in Daraya, including at least 15 women and 14 children. More bodies were found in the following days.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around 25,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the anti-government uprising began in March 2011.
Friday’s demonstration, held under the slogan of “Daraya will emerge victorious and its light will never go out,” saw protesters march to Nijmeh Square, amid chants against the Assad regime and its crackdown on the Syrian people.
Speaking during the rally, Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesperson Ahmad Qassas criticized this week’s non-aligned summit in Tehran for allegedly siding with the “oppressive regime that has committed massacres in Syria.”
Qassas said that Tripoli “was and will always stand by the rebels in Aleppo, Homs, Deraa, Daraya and Damascus.”
Meanwhile at the Hamzeh Mosque, in the neighborhood of Qobbeh, Sheikh Zakaria Masri criticized the Lebanese Army’s arrest of Tripoli residents for “bearing light arms while they let Hezbollah members who were arrested in Al-Zahiriyeh go free.
“Although the Hezbollah members were arrested with trucks of weapons and ammunition, and they were arrested after firing at the Army patrol, they were released two days after their arrest,” Masri said.
He also praised Akkar MP Mouein Merhebi for standing by the residents of his town.
The Defense Ministry has filed a complaint against Merhebi after the lawmaker and Army leadership traded accusations about the Lebanese Army’s deployment in the Akkar border region.
“His criticism of the Army leadership for failing to protect the region against this regime’s violations prompted the Army to target Merhebi and call for his prosecution,” Masri added.
The preacher asked whether the course of justice in Lebanon was now tied to the Assad regime and Tehran, saying that Merhebi as the only MP in Akkar who was calling for the protection of local residents.
After Friday prayers at the Hamzeh Mosque, dozens of protesters marched from Qibbeh to Ibn Sina Square in solidarity with the Syrian uprising, where a prayer was made in honor of the victims of various Syrian massacres.
Also Friday, Jamaa al-Islamiya members held a protest entitled “Friday of loyalty to Syria.”
Jamaa al-Islamiya official Mustapha Alloush said the party would continue to support the Syrian uprising and called on the Lebanese government to expel Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul-Karim Ali from Lebanon.
He added that former Information Minister Michel Samaha should be given the death sentence for plotting terrorist attacks in Lebanon.