TRIPOLI, Lebanon: The owners of shops damaged in the recent fighting in Tripoli demanded immediate compensation from the government’s Higher Relief Committee, as the Army began Tuesday to survey the damage in the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood.
The shop owners urged Prime Minister Najib Mikati to ask the Education Ministry to exempt the families of students in Bab al-Tabbaneh from having to pay tuition fees for 2012-2013.
Seventeen people were killed and over 120 wounded late last month in armed clashes between supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and residents of Bab al-Tabbaneh where anti-Assad sentiment runs high.
Retaliatory torching of shops accompanied the clashes, some targeting establishments in Bab al-Tabbaneh. Similar rounds of violence broke out in May and June between the two districts.
The Army is surveying damages and the HRC will pay the compensation once its work is completed.
During a meeting in Tripoli Tuesday, the committee following up on compensation payments to shop owners in Bab al-Tabbaneh urged the HRC to accelerate the surveying process and to pay those shop owners whose businesses had been affected.
“This is because all shops in Bab al-Tabbaneh have sustained losses, lost their clients and capital and cannot continue business amid these difficult circumstances,” the committee said.
On the request for neighborhood students to be excused from paying tuition fees this forthcoming academic year, the statement added: “This is because the students’ parents could not afford paying tuition fees due to the security incidents which have occurred since May, resulting in a decline in the income of owners of shops.”
“This might increase the level of school dropouts and create social instability in Bab al-Tabbaneh,” the statement added.