BA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11154 posts, RR: 58 Posted (10 years 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 1703 times:
Syrian troops were invited into Lebanon in 1976 by the Lebanese to try to restore order and were part of the Arab Deterrant Force which lasted only a couple years. The decision recieved international approval.
However many in Lebanon during the civil war and after the civil war called for the Syrian troops to withdraw.
The US and France especially pushed Syria to enter Lebanon and in 1990, George Bush Sr. affirmed the US stance regarding Syrian presence in Lebanon in an effort to get Syria to join the US coalition against Iraq. This move angered and furiated many Lebanese.
The Taif Accord ending the civil war was signed in 1989 in Taif, Saudi Arabia and it called for all Syrian troops to withdraw to the Bekaa Valley within 2 years, while a full withdrawal would be discussed between the governments. This is where the agreement failed as it did not set any deadline for a Syrian withdrawal.
Syria however did shift many of its troops to the Bekaa Valley.
Following the end of Israeli occupation in the south in May 2000 thanks to years of fighting by Hezbollah, many Lebanese started speaking out calling for the end to Syrian interference in Lebanese political affairs and troop withdrawal.
Syrian troops had numbered 35,000. Since the Israeli withdrawl in May 2000, Syrian troop numbers dropped to 22,000 then to 18,000 then to 16,000 and then the last withdrawal which was done in mid-last year reduced them to 14,000.
During talks with UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen on March 12, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and various Lebanese officials confirmed a two-stage Syrian withdrawl.
The first stage would call for the complete redeployment of Syrian forces to the Bekaa Valley in the east with many withdrawing, while the second stage would call for the withdrawl of the remaining forces based in Bekaa Valley.
During the past week, Syria has withdrawn 4,000 troops completely ending its presence in northern Lebanon and redeployed another 4,000 in the Bekaa Valley in addition to the existing 6,000 troops in the Bekaa Valley.
So that means Syrian troop numbers are now 10,000 and are expected to withdraw by the end of the month.
The first stage has been completed two days ahead of schedule.
The second stage is expected to be completed by April 27.
The 1,000 Syrian intelligence officers remain, but it is said that they will withdraw during the second stage. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to shut down the Syrian intelligence headquarters in Beirut by April 1.
The Lebanese Army had splintered during the civil war and when the war ended, it had remained nothing but fragments. Since that time however, the Lebanese Army has grown into one solid force and now has 72,000 troops.