While French and Iranian members of the five-and-a-half-thousand strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) prepare to withdraw from the south of the country...
While French and Iranian members of the five-and-a-half-thousand strong United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) prepare to withdraw from the south of the country...there have been reports of a build-up in military activity by rightist militia. And Reuters reports United Nations sources as claiming that Israeli troops are making regular night patrols across the Lebanese border.
SYNOPSIS: There are six hundred and eighty French troops in the UNIFIL force. They've been in Lebanon since March, 1978 to supervise the Israeli withdrawal from the war-torn territory. The mandate for the UNIFIL force ends on the nineteenth of January. And, although Lebanon has asked the UN Security Council for a renewal of Lebanon's mandate for another six months, the French forces are already preparing to withdraw, within the month.
In the Yater area, near where a one-hundred-and-thirty man French unit has been stationed, eighteen Sherman tanks supplied to Lebanese rightists by Israel are said to be operating. And, according to UN sources, Israeli troops ten-man units have been making night patrols across the border into Lebanon. One Thursday (11 January), ten Israeli-supported tanks were reported to have led a militia raid on the village of Shaqra in southern Lebanon, but were repulsed by a Irish contingent of the UN peace-keeping force.
.../ The commander of French forces, Colonel Francois Cann, was asked about the success of their operation
At Deit Kita in south Lebanon, Iranian troops are also preparing to leave Lebanon, And it's still not clear who will replace them. The six-hundred-man iranian contingent have been loading up their stores and equipment, packing it onto trucks, and moving out of the area. The Iranian commander, expressed confidence in the esteem in which he said his forces were held by the Lebanese people.
Lieutenant Colonel Shaherinia speaking in Arabic.
Meanwhile, as the French and Iranian forces prepare to leave Lebanon, the former christian leader and President, Camille Chamoun, has demanded the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. Mr. Chamoun said that his militias would refuse to surrender their arms until the Syrians withdrew.