Hundreds of civilians, caught in the latest outbreak of fighting in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, have fled to the outskirts and set up refugee camps.
Hundreds of civilians, caught in the latest outbreak of fighting in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, have fled to the outskirts and set up refugee camps. At the beginning of July, a five-day battle in the Christian district of Ain Rummaneh, between Right-wing Christian militias and Syrian troops of the Arab Peace Keeping Force, left more than two hundred dead. A fragile cease-fire was shattered on Tuesday (25 July), when fighting broke out in the Christian suburb of Hadath, and at least thirty people have been killed and more than fifty injured.
SYNOPSIS: Building in Hadath were still smouldering on Wednesday (26 July), after being bombarded with mortars and shells. Residents sheltered in basements and cellars while the battle raged above them and then, during a lull in the fighting, fled the area. Three residents describes their reactions to this latest resurgence of violence in the city of their plight.
In Junieh, near Mount Lebanon, hundreds have taken refuge from the fighting. Right-wing militiamen claimed the Syrian troops had been firing 155 millimetre rockets, the largest shells in their arsenal. A Syrian forces' spokesman said the bombardment was launched because one of their soldiers was hit by mortar fire, but Right-wingers maintain the attack was unprovoked.
While the refugees shelter in convents, churches and schools, sporadic fighting continues in Hadath. The Syrian troops entered Lebanon to enforce the cease-fire which ended the civil was in 1976. The Right-wing Christian militiamen, once in support of the Syrians, now claim Syria intends to occupy Lebanon, and is attempting to wipe out the Christian community. Leaders of Left-wing Moslem groups have declared they are prepared to take over from the syrians and resume the civil war.