Syria evacuates major ”Moukhabarat” centers from Beirut
Syria on Wednesday completed the evacuation of all major spy ("Moukhabarat") centers from Beirut. The three principal intelligence compounds in Beirut's commercial thoroughfare of Hamra, the posh Ramlet el Baida seaside residential neighborhood and the mid-city Beau Rivage district have been vacated, the Lebanese media reported Wednesday.
Furniture and personal affects of the officers manning the three centers were packed on Syrian army lorries which headed for the Beirut-Damascus highway en route for Syria. The last packed truck left the Beau Rivage before first light Wednesday, media reports said.
A huge poster carrying portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his father, the late Hafez Assad, were taken off an Iron frame spanning the Saeb Salam overpass in the Raouche district. A Bulldozer was seen knocking down two small buildings attached to the Beau Rivage complex, Naharnet added.
Lebanese police cordoned off the three districts while the spy centers were being dismantled and contents trucked away.
The Beirut evacuation came as the Syrian army completed 80% of the first stage of a withdrawal plan announced by President Assad about 10 days ago.
An Nahar said 4,000 troops have thus far been withdrawn from the central mountains above Beirut, of which 4,000 crossed the border into Syria proper and 2,000 fanned out in east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. 6,000 to 7,000 Syrian soldiers have almost completely withdrawn from northern Lebanon into Syria, leaving behind some six intelligence compounds with small garrisons of troops guarding them in Tripoli and Akkar.