BEIRUT — Violence broke out on Sunday evening between young Lebanese and Syrian nationals in the Burj Hammoud-Dora district. It appears as though, provoked by an incident during which a young Lebanese man was stabbed by a Syrian national, angered residents of the area took to the streets. As far as it is known, the Lebanese man did not die from his wounds.
Videos circulating on social networks show the streets of Burj Hammoud in turmoil. A source at the Internal Security Forces (ISF) claims that it was the army that was able to finally bring calm to the area. As of yet, L'Orient Today has been unable to obtain confirmation of these details from the army.
When contacted Monday, the municipality of Burj Hammoud refused to comment on the incident that took place the previous day, saying that "the precise version of events must be given by the forces of law and order."
"We are planning imminent meetings with security officials to discuss this matter," said the source within the municipality, who assured that the number of displaced Syrians in Burj Hammoud is no higher than elsewhere. But the incidents that take place there, she said, cause more of a stir in this district than in others.
The incident seems to have caused a great deal of tension in this neighborhood, traditionally inhabited by a strong Lebanese-Armenian community, but also home to a diverse range of demographics, including many Syrian refugees.
The tension did not subside the following day. A communiqué signed by "The youth and residents of Burj Hammoud and its surroundings," circulating on social networks and addressed to the municipality and the mukhtars, voiced concerns about the Syrian presence in the neighborhood.
The text "warns elected officials that if measures are not taken within a week to organize the Syrian presence in the neighborhood, they [the neighborhood's residents] will be forced to take whatever measures they deem necessary," providing no further details.
In its statement, the group "makes the municipality and the mukhtars bear the consequences of any worsening of the situation."
Hagop Terzian, an MP for the largest Armenian party in Lebanon, believes that "the task of bringing order to the neighborhood far exceeds the municipality's capabilities."
Sunday's incident, the details of which he says doesn't have, "is far from the first of its kind."
The former member of Beirut's municipal council said "the residents of Burj Hammoud are fed up with the chaos that reigns in their neighborhood and have been for decades, even before the influx of Syrians."
The MP added: "On the one hand, the forces of law and order should be responsible for ensuring security. On the other hand, the mukhtars should stop issuing domicile certificates unless the applicant has obtained a valid lease from the municipality. This is the only way to avoid overcrowding in the apartments, where dozens of people are currently crammed in."