In Beirut, the Syrian Army threw heavy tanks into battle on Thursday (9 February) against Lebanese forces, on the third day of renewed street fighting.
GV: Armed troops patrolling street in Beirut. (2 SHOTS)
CU: Former Lebanese President Camille Chamoun speaking in English.
CHAMOUN:"...I could hardly say how it happened, but when the clashes started between the Syrian army and Lebanese army, near the barracks of the army, the Lebanese army, I think that the Syrians started to invade and take positions just in case of some surprises coming from (INDISTINCT), so when, when they came with their tanks and artillery, and so on, I think that the reaction of the people of (INDISTINCT) was a reaction of self-defence, and incidents started small and then erupted to big, biggest."
The United States has contacted Lebanon and Syria over the Latest fighting, which it regards as very serious. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department said that the situation on the ground was unclear, and the fighting a very serious development. He said they were watching it very closely, and had been in touch with "responsible officials on the scene".
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Beirut, the Syrian Army threw heavy tanks into battle on Thursday (9 February) against Lebanese forces, on the third day of renewed street fighting. Clashes were reported between elements of Lebanon's regular army, being re-built after the Civil War, and Syrian troops, who halted the war 15 months ago under an Arab League peace - keeping mandate. More than 50 people were killed in the first two days of fighting. Anti-Syrian feeling ran high among Christians after-a Syrian attack on the headquarters of the National Liberal Party (NLP) of former President Camille Chamoun.
SYNOPSIS: In an interview Mr. Chamoun was asked how the fighting involved the Syrians, who provide the bulk of the 30,000 strong Arab League peace-keeping force.