The streets of the shattered Lebanese capital Beirut were quiet again on Friday (14 May) after yet another night of bitter fighting.
The streets of the shattered Lebanese capital Beirut were quiet again on Friday (14 May) after yet another night of bitter fighting. A few rival gunmen patrolled the city centre and the occasional burst of sniper fire was heard.
The previous night left and right-wing gunmen took part in bitter confrontations as their Moslem and Christian leaders met for another unsuccessful session to try to find a solution to the 13-month-old conflict.
The fighting has cost thousands of lives and caused billions of dollars (pounds) worth of damage. Many banks have been looted. Luxury hotels have been turned into front line positions and homes and shops destroyed in the wave of destruction.
Beirut was once regarded as the centre of the Arabic commercial world. Since the fighting erupted into a civil war, hundreds of Lebanese businessmen have fled the country, taking with them their skills in finance and commerce.
Fierce battles on three fronts in the last few days have cast fresh doubts on the ability of the Syrian-backed President-elect Elias Sarkis to reduce the level of violence in Lebanon.
President Suleiman Franjieh is due to hand in his resignation following Mr. Sarkis's election but so far no date has been given.
On Friday a simmering conflict between Syrian and Palestinian groups aligned with Lebanese leftists broke into the open. Palestinian groups met in an extraordinary session and issued a statement ordering the withdrawal of troops of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) from the troubled port of Tripoli, northern Lebanon.
The order appeared to challenge Syria's authority over the Syrian-orientated PLA forces and further jeopardises Syrian efforts to dampen the war.