But the lull failed to douse an enduring fear elsewhere in Lebanon that the enmity in the north will inevitably spread to other parts of the country. Another day of soaring violence in neighbouring Syria instead fuelled concerns that the raging civil war would further spill beyond the borders of its unstable neighbour.
Turkey yesterday announced that one of 11 Lebanese Shia men kidnapped north of Aleppo in Syria in May had been released in what was hailed by his captors as an "act of good will". Hussein Ali Omar's release came after a request by the head of the Committee of Muslim Scholars in Lebanon, Sheikh Hasan Qaterji.
Hours later a leader of the country's Meqdad clan, which kidnapped 20 Syrians inside Lebanon earlier this month, said all but four would soon be freed in a bid to defuse tensions.
Lebanese leaders say that they don't fear a return to the dark days of the civil war that ravaged the country for 16 years from 1975. "We've lived through it and no one wants to do it again," said the leader of Lebanon's Druze sect, Walid Jumblatt. "The crisis in Syria is being driven by different things."
However, on the streets of Tripoli and of the capital, Beirut, there is a strong sense that the sectarian faultlines that drove the Lebanese civil war are driving the current tensions.
"People are talking Sunni and Shia again," said Wissam Awada in Beirut's Hamra district. "People here have always cared about where other Lebanese came from, but this time there is an edge to their questioning, more of a feeling than usual that you are being judged by where you are from."
In Tripoli, where the clashes have taken place between an Alawite community in the Jebel al-Mohsen district and conservative Sunni groups in the nearby Bab al-Tabanneh district, there is little reason to believe that incendiary tensions will disappear any time soon.
"It has been happening here since May," said Maher Anwar, a visitor from the nearby Akkar region. "And every few months things flare up between the groups. The hatred there is growing."
Tripoli's Alawites are staunchly supportive of the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Most of the city's Sunnis remain implacably opposed to the regime and supportive of the Syrian rebel army, now locked in a fight to the death with loyalist forces little more than 100 kilometres away.
Tripoli has become a microcosm of many Syrian cities, especially Homs just to the east, with whose residents many in northern Lebanon share ancestral links. The clashes there have been been driven both by sectarian enmity and a social fabric and history that have long cast each side as protagonists.
Tripoli's geopolitical history had always meant that its citizens would be unable to separate themselves from the crisis in Syria. Lebanon's leaders have more room to move on this score but, despite appearances, have seemed unwilling to use it.
"The official state policy is one of distance from Syria's troubles," said the head of one Lebanese sect. "But that's just a cloak. Everyone is involved in the same old Lebanese ways. Don't forget that the Syrian regime only physically left Beirut in 2005 [after the assassination of the former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, for which Syrian security chiefs have been blamed]. But they haven't really left at all."
Early this month Lebanon's former information minister, Michel Samaha, was arrested in his home and accused of transporting explosives from Syria at the request of Bashar al-Assad and his head of national security, Ali Mamlouk.
Accusations since levelled against Samaha, a staunch supporter of Assad and the 8 March political alliance in Lebanon, led by Hezbollah, include that he was told to ensure that the bombs were detonated in Akkar — a move that would have heightened already considerable sectarian tensions.
The arrest of Samaha, an unusual move in Lebanon, where security forces remain unable or unwilling to assert their independence from the whims of politicians, has drawn little response from Hezbollah, or the pro-Assad Christian bloc, led by the former general, Michel Aoun.
Both groups have joined the anti-Assad 14 March bloc in urging that civil obedience be restored in Beirut, where the airport road has three times in the past fortnight been obstructed by masked men, and in Tripoli, where gunmen continue to roam despite the presence of the army.
However, the ever-worsening violence in Syria appears sure to further test the resolve of Lebanon's leaders and the patience of its citizens.
"Can the 8 March bloc sit back in the face of obvious provocations and blame it all on al-Qaida?" the sect leader said. "The Samaha issue is a test case. The evidence is strong and they can't reflexively defend him."
In the meantime, residents of both cities are fervently hoping that the ghosts of the civil war will somehow contain the enmity in the north. "It has to stop," said Nour Dagham in Beirut. "If it doesn't, Lebanon is just the first stop in a regional firestorm."