The Syrian Peacekeeping force strengthening its Arab League mandate to supervise the ceasefire in Lebanon has been called in to settle the first major clash in Beirut since it arrived.
The Syrian Peacekeeping force strengthening its Arab League mandate to supervise the ceasefire in Lebanon has been called in to settle the first major clash in Beirut since it arrived. Overnight on Wednesday, (17/18 November) three days after their arrival, they went to the Sabra refugee camp in the Southern suburbs when fighting broke out between rival Palestinian commando groups. A six hour battle was reported to have been won by Saigua commandos -- a pro-Syrian Palestinian group.
SYNOPSIS: The part of the Syrian Peace-keeping Force in Lebanon responsible for Beirut, the capital, now numbers about eleven thousand troops, mainly from Syria. Residents of Beirut appear to be gaining confidence the longer the force maintains its presence, and are moving about the battered capital in increasing numbers. There is still much work to be done clearing the barricades and fortifications put up by the warring factions during the 19-month-old Civil War -- all of it so far under the eye of armed troops.
Beirut used to be the commercial centre of the Arab world, and already traders and small merchants have begun returning to city streets. In some parts of the city traffic jams of cars are reported as the residents stream back from safe areas of Lebanon and elsewhere.
Some Government offices have summoned their employees back to work, and it's reported by Beirut Radio that the city's airport -- closed to traffic since July -- will receive its first aircraft again on Friday (19 November). The peacekeeping force is also reported to be preparing to extend its control to the ports of Sidon and Tripoli.