INTRODUCTION: Fighting and violence continue in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, as the United States special envoy Mr.
GV Street scene in Beirut
LV Soldiers running on street and firing around building
SV Soldier TILT DOWN FROM Lebanese flag at security point (2 shots)
SV Injured people being treated in hospital
CU Injured child, women beside bed (2 shots)
GV ZOOM TO SCU Damascus: Assad and Saudi delegate (2 shots)
SV Khaddam (back to camera) greeting Iranian officials
GV PAN Iranian delegation PAN TO Khaddam
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Fighting and violence continue in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, as the United States special envoy Mr. Philip Habib continues moving among Middle Eastern capitals in his quest for a solution to Lebanon's troubles. On Monday (18 May), mortars and rockets fell around a densely-populated Palestinian refugee camp in Sabra, South Beirut. Security sources said fires were started and three people were killed and 50 wounded in a two-hour bombardment. There had also been exchanges of gunfire the previous day in the city streets, with children among the casualties. Mr. Habib arrived in Damascus on Monday night, but Syrian officials reportedly said he seemed to be making no headway in his efforts to ease the crisis. The Syrian government remained adamant it would not agree to Israel's demand to remove the missiles Syria has set up in Lebanon. On Sunday (17 May), Syrian President Hafaz al-Assad received a Saudi envoy bearing a letter from King Khalid, but its contents were not disclosed. And a number of government officials from Iran, which backs Syria in the conflict with Israel, have been visiting Damascus.
SYNOPSIS: These were the scenes in Beirut during the final phase of 36 hours of the heaviest fighting since civil strife broke out again in April. It as followed by a brief period of calm that ended with the attacks on the refugee camp. This attack was a prelude to an artillery duel between the Christian forces in Eastern Beirut and the predominantly-Moslem western sector.
Among those engaged in these shooting exchanges in central Beirut were members of a group named al-Thawra, Supporters of the Revolution. State-run Beirut Radio had reported that political contacts were under way to try to halt the violence, but no signs of a ceasefire emerged.
Hospital sources reported on Sunday (17 May) about 20 people had died on the two sides, with around 100 injured, since shelling started the previous night. Some were injured in exchanges of heavy arms between the Murr Tower, an unfinished skyscraper held by Syrian peacekeeping forces in West Beirut, and the rightest-held Rizk tower in the eastern sector.
In Damascus, President Assad met with the deputy head of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, Sheikh Abdel-Aziz al-Tuweijeri at the presidential palace. The Saudis support the Syrians, and have accused Israel of increasing tension in Lebanon.
The same day, the Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel-Halim Khaddam met with an Iranian government party, led by their Deputy Premier for Political Affairs, Mohammed Hashemi. Mr. Hashemi expressed his country's solidarity with Syria over the Lebanese issue.