Jun 24 2013 - 00:21
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REPORT: Assir reportedly in Syria after 2 day battle with LAF-sources

REPORT: Assir reportedly in Syria after 2 day battle with LAF-sources Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار after,Syria,reportedly,Assir,REPORT,
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Lebanon News
   

Military sources told LBCI that Lebanese Armed Forces took control of Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir’s building complex in Sidon and surrounded the Imam of Bilal bin Rabah mosque, after a two day battle with the sheikh's partisans. The army also confiscated large quantities of weapons, ammunition, uniforms and al-Nusra front flags.
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While Sheikh al-Assir and former singer Fadl Shaker were no where to be found upon the inspection of the complex, the political adviser to the Free Syrian Army Bassam el-Dada told LBCI that Sheikh Ahmad Assir is currently in the custody of the Free Syrian Army inside Syria.

This as 6 of Sheikh Assir’s gunmen were arrested in Taamir Ain el-Helwe, one of them was disguised in niqab, while sources told LBCI that 25 of Assir's supporters turned themselves in to the Army Intelligence.
                                                           
Clashes had raged between LAF soldiers and supporters of al-Assir in Sidon, leaving at least 16 soldiers killed and more than 70 others wounded.          

The LAF martyrs were identified as First Sergeant Toni Youssef Hazouri, Sergeant Omar Haitham Youssef, Corporal Abdel Karim Qabalan Teaimeh, Soldiers Johnny Antoine Nicolas, Wassim Saleh Hamdan, Bilal Abdallah Idriss.       

In contrast, 35 of Assir’s partisans were also reported killed in Sidon’s clashes. The Lebanese Red Cross announced that 78 injured were transported out of Abra.             

Masked gunmen roamed Tripoli’s streets, and fired gunshots in the air, amidst calls for closing shops in the city.                

Masked gunmen also cut off the Meatein Street with burning tires in support of Sheikh Assir. 

Military sources then told LBCI the LAF had received information that armed groups intend to attack military vehicles located in Tripoli’s Harba Street, adding that the army leadership withdrew the vehicles from the said street and relocated them in military bases in Bab al-Tebbaneh. The sources reported that instructions were given to defend these bases in case of any attack.
          
On Sunday, the Lebanese Armed Forces’ Command issued a statement in which it said a number of its soldiers were killed and others were injured as an armed group supporting Sheikh Ahmad Al-Assir attacked an LAF checkpoint in Sidon’s Abra region.                                           
However, the media office of Sheikh Assir said that clashes erupted after LAF soldiers arrested Fadi Beyrouthi, one of the bodyguards of Sheikh al-Assir.    
            
Security meeting in Baabda:             

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman chaired a governmental security meeting at the Baabda palace in the presence of Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, PM-Designate Tammam Salam, and other security and military officials.           

The officials discussed the latest security incidents in Lebanon as well as the situation in Sidon.  

Prior to the meeting, President Sleiman met with Lebanese Forces Chief Samir Geagea and discussed with him the latest security situation in Lebanon.    

Statement of Muslim Scholars:   

Following a meeting of the Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Salem Rafei said that residents of Sidon mentioned that members from Hezbollah and the Amal movement are participating in Sidon’s clashes, and held the Army Command accountable for their intervention.                                

On another note, Rafei mentioned that Sheikh Assir is in good health; thus denying what was previously reported about the latter being injured in the clashes.            

Rafei added that "the Muslim Scholars will not take any measures to control the situation," calling on the Lebanese state to bear its responsibility.          

Roads:                                       

A number of citizens cut off on Monday roads leading to the Abdel Hamid Karami Square in Tripoli while others blocked the Tripoli-Akkar road in the Beddawi region.                          

LAF soldiers had reopened Sunday overnight various roads that were blocked on the backdrop of clashes that erupted in Sidon.               

The roads included the Bar Elias-Masnaa road, Shtoura-Saadnayel, and the Forzol-Zahle road.                          

Exams:      

As for the exams, the Director the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences at the Lebanese University- Branch I, Dr. Nabil Khatib announced that the exams, which were scheduled for today (Monday), were postponed until Tuesday the 2nd of July, 2013.           

Municipality of Sidon:    

The municipality of Sidon appealed in a statement on all officials to call for an immediate cease-fire and truce in order to evacuate citizens and wounded persons from the city.    

Telecommunications damages in Sidon:


In light of the current clashes, the telecommunications company Touch announced that the company’s central adapter in Sidon, which is located across Sheikh Assir’s building complex, was damaged.

Touch added that damages lead to a partial outage in the telecommunication services in the regions of Rmeileh, Wadi el-Zineh, and Haret Saida.     

Positions:

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced tomorrow (Tuesday) as an official mourning day.

Earlier, head of the Future Bloc Fouad Siniora called on Lebanese armed forces to impose a curfew in Sidon in order to arrest those who attacked soldiers and maintain the safety of citizen.     

For his part, Hamas Chief Khaled Meshaal contacted house Speaker Nabih Berri, whereby he declared that the Palestinian refugee camps will remain at a distance from the current clashes prevailing in Sidon.


To watch the LBCI report, please click on the video above.
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