Syrian Plans to ‘Redeploy’ Troops in Lebanon
Syrian troops based in Beirut and nearby areas are to "redeploy" in the next few days, the Lebanese army said.
The forces concerned include those stationed at Yarze, in Christian east Beirut, where the Lebanese Defense Ministry is located, as well as at Baabda, site of the presidential palace, and Mount Lebanon, said a statement cited by AFP.
The redeployment will take place with coordination between the Lebanese and Syrian military commands, the statement said, giving no further details.
Opponents of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, particularly Christian Maronite Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, have stepped up calls for the 35,000 Syrian troops based in Lebanon to be moved out of the capital.
They want relations between Beirut and Damascus, which has control over Lebanese affairs, to be "balanced."
Within the same context, the Free Patriotic Movement released a statement on Wednesday criticizing President Emile Lahoud’s recent remarks on Lebanese-Syrian relations, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
The statement referred to an interview given by Lahoud to Maghreb Arab Presse (MAP) on Tuesday on the eve of his departure on a two-day official visit to Morocco.
It quoted Lahoud as saying Lebanese-Syrian cooperation would remain an example of Arab cooperation until the Golan Heights were liberated and a just and comprehensive peace established.
“By linking the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon to liberating the Golan and achieving peace, the president has introduced a new condition to justify Syrian occupation,” the statement said.
It added that "the eventual purpose of such a condition is to indefinitely keep Lebanon a hostage state, subservient to Syrian hegemony.” – Albawaba.com