INTRODUCTION: Fierce battles were raging near Lebanon's southern border with Israel, according to travellers reaching Cyprus on Wednesday (26 January).
INTRODUCTION: Fierce battles were raging near Lebanon's southern border with Israel, according to travellers reaching Cyprus on Wednesday (26 January). Right-wing Christian militiamen have captured two villages from Leftist and Palestinian forces and a third village is surrounded.
SYNOPSIS: Meanwhile, Syrian Army peacekeeping forces arrived in Nabatiyeh on Sunday (23 January). The village is further north from the fighting and is within seven miles (11 kms) from Israel. Eyewitnesses said Nabatiyeh inhabitants welcomed the troops when they entered the town. In Beirut, the force has tightened its hold in western areas by taking over buildings formerly used by Left-wing militias. That area was dominated by the Left-wing alliance and there were some reports of resistance.
The conflict in the border area is an unresolved relic of the country's 19-month-old civil war. And Syrian activity in the area is troubling the Israeli government. The Defence Minister, Shimon Peres, said his government was following events closely. The mass circulation daily newspaper Ma'ariv has said the entry of Syrian troops in Nabatiyeh must set off a "red light" in Israel. It said the country mustn't allow the deployment of a regular Syrian force so close to Israel's northern border.