All available men have been thrown into the vicious fighting in the Lebanese capital Beirut where left and right-wing forces have flung themselves at each other with fresh intensity since Syrian peace-keeping troops began to withdraw from Beirut on Tuesday (22 June).
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GV Beirut airport
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Syrian peace-keeping troops were involved in many clashes with Palestinian and Lebanese leftists before their withdrawal on Tuesday at the request of the Arab League. The Syrians maintained throughout their military advance that they were there solely to bring peace, but leftists resisted the advance which they regarded as an invasion and an attempt to occupy the Lebanon. The Arab League has since sent an international peace-keeping force into the country composed of troops from Algeria, Libya, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria. The civil war in the Lebanon has been going on for 14 months.
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Background: All available men have been thrown into the vicious fighting in the Lebanese capital Beirut where left and right-wing forces have flung themselves at each other with fresh intensity since Syrian peace-keeping troops began to withdraw from Beirut on Tuesday (22 June).
SYNOPSIS: The Lebanese leftists and Palestinians are making a frantic effort to break through Falangist lines in east Beirut to ease the pressure on two Palestinian camps which the rightists have surrounded on the capital's south-eastern outskirts.
The combined leftist and Palestinian forces were said on Thursday to have moved one street closer to Beirut's port but the Falangists have called up reserves to repulse this attack.
Hand to hand fighting has been reported at the Palestinian camps of Tel Al Zaatar and Jisr Al Basha. Palestinian officials say the camps' defenders have pushed back all attacks so far but they have also threatened dire revenge if the camp and other leftist held enclaves in the area fall to the right.
The Palestinian officials have reminded the Falangists that when the Palestinian strongholds at Dbayeh and Qarantina fell last January, the response was the destruction of whole rightist communities. These leftists have orders to try to stop the camps falling by diverting right-wing forces.
Beirut airport reopened only three days ago after its occupation by Arab League peace-keeping forces, but the war council of the Falangist party has said it will use all the means it sees fit to close the airport unless certain conditions are met by next Wednesday. The include freedom of access to the airport for all Lebanese which is an impossibility at the present with the country split by the fighting and the airport in the hands of the leftists. The airport is within rightist artillery range and it may well be shelled if there is no response to the demands.