BEIRUT: Head of the Army Gen. Jean Kahwagi toured the northern city of Tripoli Saturday and inspected military units that deployed there earlier this month to end fierce clashes that left at least 17 dead.
Kahwagi stressed the need to preserve security and adopt strict measures in prosecuting violators.
The Army commander inspected Army units in the rival neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, where gunmen have fought deadly battles this year. He also visited wounded soldiers in Tripoli hospitals, lauding their bravery and wishing them a speedy recovery.
During his visit, Kahwagi praised the soldiers' efforts to restore order in the city, saying that achieving stability in Tripoli is the Army’s priority at this stage, given the matter’s importance for the country in its entirety.
Earlier this month, weeklong clashes in Lebanon's second largest city erupted between gunmen in two rival districts: Sunni dominated Bab al-Tabbaneh, where residents largely back the Syrian uprising, and Alawite majority Jabal Mohsen, where support for Syrian President Bashar Assad runs high.
In response to the clashes, the city's political and security figures met, agreed to a cease-fire and called for the redeployment of the Army, which in turn implemented a security plan to restore order in Tripoli.
On Sunday, troops detained 18 gunmen (11 of whom were later released) and seized quantities of arms, ammunition and military hardware in Al-Zahiriyeh neighborhood, which is adjacent to Bab al-Tabbaneh.