Lebanese army units stayed in their barracks on Thursday (11 September) despite a Government order to remain in a buffer zone between ???
Lebanese army units stayed in their barracks on Thursday (11 September) despite a Government order to remain in a buffer zone between ???arring Christian and Moslem near the strife-torn city of Tripoli.
The troops are stationed at the Al Kubbah barracks on the outskirts of the city while left-wing politicians violently oppose government proposals for the army to intervene in the bitter sectarian fighting that has been raging in Tripoli for more than a week.
The violence broke out after a car accident some nine days ago, and gunbattles and vendetta killings have kept it going ever since. at least 100 peoples have been killed already and many more wounded.
The Lebanese Cabinet met for it fourth meeting in as many days on Thursday, but so far the emergency sessions have failed to come up with an acceptable method of dealing with the fighting.
Tripoli itself is reasonably quiet apart from sporadic rifle fire. Many shops are open, people are on the streets and traffic is heavy. But to the north-east the religious battle still rages and there were reports of another two deaths on Thursday.
The left-wing parties, mostly Moslem dominated, have called for a nationwide strike to oppose the Government's plan for troop intervention. They regard the army as protectors of Christianity.
Premier Rashid Karami has made it clear that the army has been ordered not to enter either Tripoli (a Moslem stronghold) or the northern christian town of Zgharta...some five miles (8 kilometres) away.
However, troops have established an unofficial buffer zone between the two centres and it's believed they will intervene if fighting breaks out again.
Mr. Karami has told newsmen that the Cabinet will hold continuous meetings to follow developments in the north and "take necessary measures to stop the trouble before it starts."
The Cabinet has also approved a bill to be placed before Parliament which would establish a six or eight-man command council to make top-level decisions on the use of troops.
An estimated 3,000 were killed or injured in factional violence in Beirut earlier this year.