Efforts to resolve Lebanon's prolonged political crisis have been further undermined by the latest outbreaks of fighting between right-wing gunmen and Syrian peacekeeping troops.
GV: Deserted town centre.
SV: Armed men move through ruined buildings and undergrowth.
LV ZOOM IN: Boy with rifles walking through olive grove.
LV PAN: Armed men cross and take cover before approaching building.
LV: Unarmed men sheltered by wall.
SV PAN: Man with rifles runs across road.
SV: Man with rifle leaning against wall.
LV: Deserted street.
SV: Tiny children run across path.
The 30,000-strong Arab Deterrent Force has supervised security in most of Lebanon since a 19-month civil war ended in November 1976. According to diplomatic sources quoted by Reuter, the recent clashes have been a major setback to attempts by Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss to form a new government. The five days of fighting in the same area last month contributed to the government's decision to resign on April 19. Dr Hoss' efforts to form a new government have failed sofar, despite a plan drawn up by political leaders to ban the private militias and Palestinian guerrilla activity in Lebanon.
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Background: Efforts to resolve Lebanon's prolonged political crisis have been further undermined by the latest outbreaks of fighting between right-wing gunmen and Syrian peacekeeping troops.
SYNOPSIS: A fragile ceasefire appeared to be holding in the main flashpoint area of Ain Rummaneh in Beirut, following the weekend's bloody clashes. Right-wing militiamen held on to strategic positions in the district after fighting which involved tanks, artillery and rockets. It exploded after simmering unrest between the rightist militias and the mainly Syrian Arab League peacekeeping forces.
According to right-wing reports quoted by Reuter, at least three people were killed and 19 wounded. The clashes have underlined increasingly strained relations between Syria and the Lebanese right. Last month the Syrians used tanks and heavy artillery to quell fighting between rival militiamen in Christian Ain Rummaneh and the neighbouring Moslem Shiya district. About 50 people died and 250 were wounded.
A spokesman for the peacekeeping troops, or Arab Deterrent Force, said the latest intervention was for similar reasons...to stop fighting between "anarchists" in both sectors. Rightist leader Camille Chamoun, a former Lebanese president claimed this was a fabrication and accused the Syrians of the random shelling of civilian area.