Lebanese troops have moved into the north of the country in the fist major deployment since the end of the civil war in November 1976.
Lebanese troops have moved into the north of the country in the fist major deployment since the end of the civil war in November 1976. The move follows clashes last Wednesday (31 May) between rival militiamen in the area.
SYNOPSIS: Lebanese soldiers, back by armoured personnel carries and tanks, took up positions along the coastal high way between Beirut and the northern port of Tripoli.
Interior Minister Salah Salam said the deployment was aimed at helping the Syrian-dominated peace force, now policing the civil war truce. Four gunmen were killed in fighting on Wednesday (31 May) at Shekka, 40 miles (70 kilometres) north of Beirut.
Lebanon's army disintegrated during the 19-month civil war. Efforts to rebuild an army that requires religious and political balance, have so fare made slow progress. Nonetheless, the use of army regulars after last week's clashes has been seen as an encouraging step by some lebanese observers.
The army move was supported by the independent newspaper 'Al Anwar' which said it was a health sign. The paper maintained there was a critical choice to be made - either a powerful Lebanon that protects itself or a week, dismembered country.
Meanwhile, President Elais Sarkis and his Government have been looking at plan which the restructured army will play a major security role. some 3,000 Lebanese regulars will move into southern Lebanon in mid-June, providing Israeli forces withdraw. And the army will also prepare to eventually replace the Arab peace force, which number 30,000.