In Beirut, Christian militia and the predominantly Syrian Arab deterrent force are waging what observers say is the most devastating battle in the whole civil war.
GV Flames and smoke over Beirut
SV People queuing outside shop (2 shots)
CU Newspapers and magazines on sale
GV People seated in PULL BACK TO deserted sun lounge area around swimming pool
GV Traffic in street
GV & SV Smoke pall hanging over city (3 shots)
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Background: In Beirut, Christian militia and the predominantly Syrian Arab deterrent force are waging what observers say is the most devastating battle in the whole civil war. The fighting reached its height on Tuesday (3 October) with some estimates putting the dead and wounded at more than 500 in the 24 hours that followed.
SYNOPSIS: In the city, a cloud of smoke from buildings hit by heavy artillery fire, blotted out the sun. Eyewitnesses said scores of the shells landed in busy streets.
People caught in the cross-fire now have little food as few shops are open. Much of the city is without a water supply and electricity. The latest reports from the city say the Presidential palace received several direct hits during Wednesday's battle. Many hospitals have been severely damaged, and doctors have warned they can no longer cope with the mounting numbers of casualties.
Even areas of the city which still retained something of the air of luxury have been threatened. It appears that both sides have been fighting for control of a strategic road bridge carrying the main flow of traffic northwards out of the city.
According to Reuters News Agency, the Syrians have won control of the bridge, which cuts the main supply route to the Christian sector. So far, the Christians have held on -- with guided missiles fired from their strongholds on the hills to the east.