The ceasefire that ended three weeks of bitter fighting in Lebanon appeared to be holding on September 26.
BEIRUT, LEBANON SEPTEMBER 26, 1983 (REUTERS - MARWAM KHOURY )
GVs Beirut airport, debris being swept up as airport re-opens. (6 SHOTS)
SVs Damage to airport terminal. (2 SHOTS)
Background: The ceasefire that ended three weeks of bitter fighting in Lebanon appeared to be holding on September 26. In the town of Souk el-Gharb, scene of some of the heaviest shelling and rocket attacks, life returned to a semblance of normality; markets re-opened, people took to the streets again and men were seen playing backgammon as though nothing had changed. But there was stark evidence in many areas that things had changed. One elderly woman stood outside what had once been her home - it had been caught in the crossfire of shells and rockets. Lebanese soldiers were still in the town, their attitude more relaxed but still they held their guns. An undamaged yellow Mercedes car drove down one street, a symbol of affluence. Watching it pass was a young boy, aged about five, wearing an officers cap and holding a machinegun. From their positions near Beirut airport United States marines, who came under attack several times in the past three weeks, kept watch over the city and the Shouf Mountains. In the mountains themselves, the Druze militia, who were the main force behind the battle for Souk el-Gharb, held their positions, still mindful that ceasefires have been many in Lebanon, few have lasted long. At Beirut airport, officials prepared to re-open; it was expected the Lebanese National carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA) would operate its first flight there on September 29. The airport was closed a month ago, after frequent attacks. The right-wing Christian Phalangist newspaper, Al-Amal, viewed the ceasefire with scepticism saying it was Lebanon's 179th ceasefire in 10 years but that 178 similar accords had not stopped the "cycle of bloody violence". On September 27 snipers fired at Lebanese Army troops in Beirut's southern suburbs. But government sources said the ceasefire, worked out between the Beirut government and Syrian-backed insurgents, was generally holding. The security committee, appointed to monitor the ceasefire, is expected to operate under a United Nations umbrella.