BEIRUT: The Army should never have withdrawn from the northern city of Tripoli given the tense circumstances, the Future Movement said Tuesday, blaming the government for recent clashes there that have left at least 17 dead.
“The bloc was surprised by the Higher Defense Council’s decision to redeploy the Lebanese Army as per the security plan it put forward [Sunday],” the Future Movement parliamentary bloc said in a statement after their weekly meeting chaired by MP Fouad Siniora.
“The Army was supposed to remain there in both [rival] neighborhoods following the previous security plan that was announced a couple of weeks ago,” it added.
In a bid to end week-long violence in the city, the Army deployed heavily in the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood, a stronghold of President Bashar Assad and Bab al-Tabbaneh where the majority support the Syrian uprising.
Fighters from the rival neighborhoods have clashed on several occasions since the crisis in Syria began.
Fighting was renewed early last week after 17 Lebanese fighters, mostly from Tripoli, were killed in an ambush by regime forces in the Syrian town of Tal Kalakh.
“This poses the question as to the reason the Army withdrew from points of tension in the first place,” the bloc asked. “Was there a justification to withdraw amid these tense circumstances?”
The Future Movement, which enjoys strong support in Tripoli, said the government and officials were responsible for “every [drop of] blood spilled in the capital of the north.”
It added that the government neglected to implement a preemptive security plan, accusing some parties in the Cabinet of funding and arming gunmen there.
The bloc also criticized Syria's handling of the bodies of the young fighters who were killed in the town of Tal Kalakh, saying that Damascus’ decision to send the bodies in stages is aimed at maintaining tension in the city.