A fragile truce between the Lebanese army and al Qaeda-inspired militants appears to be holding, after three days of clashes killed dozens of people, and left a trail of destruction. The Lebanese army has vowed to root out all militants of the Fatah al-Islam group inside the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
The militants have vowed to fight to the last drop of blood. The residents are leaving, anyway they can. “There’s damage, destruction, fire,” said one old woman. “We are leaving it to God.” “They’ve destroyed the camp. There is no water, no food,” said a man, fleeing in a small van packed with people.
It’s not known exactly how many people have died inside the camp, near Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli. But it was home to more than 30,000 refugees and there is talk of many bodies beneath the bombed-out buildings. Those electing to stay are sitting it out in makeshift shelters. Fatah al-Islam, a Sunni Muslim group, has made the refugee camp its base. The Lebanese government believes the militants are Syrian-backed.