There have been renewed gun battles between Syrian troops and right-wing militiamen in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
There have been renewed gun battles between Syrian troops and right-wing militiamen in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Security sources said first estimates indicated that at least 40 people had been killed and more than 100 wounded in the fighting which broke out on Saturday (1 July).
SYNOPSIS: Residents say the fighting is the worst since the Lebanese civil war ended 19 months ago. There have been conflicting reports about how the fighting started, but reports from Beirut indicated that Syrian soldiers attached to the Arab peacekeeping force began pounding a Christian suburb with tank and artillery shells on Saturday (1 July).
At least 22 people had been reported killed during the first day of the fighting and by Sunday, the clashes had become a free-for-all. The fighting had spread to cover most of the east side of Beirut, from the docks to the eastern foothills.
At one point, following an emergency meeting between the Lebanese President Elias Sarkis and leaders of the major right-wing militia forces, the right-wing radio station reported that they had agreed on a cease-fire. But shortly afterwards while broadcasting the cease-fire agreement, the radio went off the air for several hours. It was hit by mortar bombs fired by the leftists.
The gunfire continued into the night. There have been at least two formal calls for a cease-fire, but both have been ignored.