State-run Beirut Radio reports that Lebanese Prime Minister Shafiq al-Wazzan will visit Syria on January 8.
1. GV PAN Bombed buildings in Tripoli. 0.08
2. GV Gunmen shooting at enemy positions. (2 SHOTS) 0.30
3. GV Gunmen behind wall shooting at enemy positions. 0.44
4. SV PAN Spent shells on ground. 0.49
5. GV Gunman firing from behind wall. 1.12
6. GV Debris on ground. (2 SHOTS) 1.22
7. SV INT Injured being attended to in hospital. (4 SHOTS) 1.50
8. SV Dead body in room. 1.55
9. GV EXT Tripoli skyline with gun fire background sound. 2.09
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Background: TRIPOLI, LEBANON
State-run Beirut Radio reports that Lebanese Prime Minister Shafiq al-Wazzan will visit Syria on January 8. The aim will be to discuss fighting between pro and anti-Syrian factions which has ranged in the port city of Tripoli for eight successive days up to January 7. It will be the first visit to Syria by a senior Lebanese official since President Amin Gemayel took office last September. Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, in an area of northern Lebanon controlled by Syrian troops. The Syrians have been there since their intervention in 1976 in a bid to prevent the outbreak of civil war within the Lebanon. Mr. Wazzan had already contacted Syrian officials t ask their help in stopping the fighting between the pro-Syrian militia, who are backed by Syrian troops, and several anti-Syrian groups. More than 100 people have died in the month of fighting, many of them since the new year. On January 7 State Radio reported sporadic shelling and bursts of machine gun fire from the slum districts where the battles have been concentrated. The fighting in Tripoli has apparently embarrassed the Syrian government, which has always said its army was in Lebanon to restore peace and security. The Syrians recently sent a mission of unprecedented seniority to Tripoli, but little or no progress has been made towards a ceasefire. This was partly because some of the most important anti-Syrian groups reject any plan that does not involve the complete withdrawal of Syrian troops from Tripoli nad the deployment in their place of the Lebanese Army.
Source: REUTERS - TEWFIC GHAZZAWI