In Lebanon, troops moved into Christian areas of Beirut on Monday (18 June) after fighting between rival right-wing militia groups in which at least 12 people died.
In Lebanon, troops moved into Christian areas of Beirut on Monday (18 June) after fighting between rival right-wing militia groups in which at least 12 people died. It was the first real show of strength by the government in the south-eastern suburbs of the city since the 1975 civil war.
SYNOPSIS: Over a thousand Lebanese troops moved into the suburb of Aim-Rummaneh at dawn. Their presence allowed the re-opening of the main Beirut to Damascus highway for the first time in a year. Residents could also cross safely from the Christian to the Moslem sector again.
At the same time government troops moved into the Christian suburb of Furn al-Shubak, restoring order after three days of fighting, between feuding members of the Falangist Party and the National Liberals. They had fought together during the civil war, but the alliance collapsed in arguments over areas of influence.
Some of the worst fighting in the 19-month civil war took place in the Christian suburbs of Beirut. A number of shells fell on the suburbs during the recent fighting and, in addition to the 12 who died, at least 20 people were injured. Eventually Falangist leader Pierre Gemayel and Camille Chamoun, head of the National Liberals, appealed to the government for help after they had failed to stop the fighting.
When Lebanese troops moved into the area in armoured vehicles local residents took to the streets to celebrate.
Before the government took action, a joint Falange-National Liberal force attempted to establish a buffer zone between the two sides - but failed to stop the fighting. On Tuesday (19 June) there were renewed demands for the Syrian forces to leave Lebanon.
Major Saad Haddad, a rebel Lebanese army officer, said there could be no solution to Lebanon's problem until the Syrian and Palestinian guerrillas left the country. Major Haddad, now commanding Israeli-backed militia's in Southern Lebanon, said his goal was 'Lebanon for the Lebanese'. He said that if the Syrian pulled out, the Palestinians would be forced to follow them.