Families leave Lebanon camp

Temporary truce allows wives and children of Fatah al-Islam fighters to leave.

    The women and children were taken from the camp
    in an army bus followed by ambulances [AFP]

    A military bus and several ambulances were seen leaving the camp on Friday.

    Conditions

    A clerics' delegation trying to mediate an end to the standoff said that the military had accepted a series of conditions to allow the evacuation to go ahead.
     
    The army accepted a temporary halt to military operations and agreed that the women would only be searched and interrogated by female soldiers.

    Up to 50 Fatah al-Islam fighters are thought
    to remain inside Nahr al-Bared [AFP]

    The women and children have been inside the battered camp since May 20, when the fighting between the army and Fatah al-Islam erupted.

    The evacuation could pave the way for the army to launch a final assault on the 35 to 50 fighters believed to still be holed up in the camp.
     
    Fatah al-Islam's fighters have refused demands to surrender and vowed to fight to the death.

    "Some sources are telling us it [the evacuation] could be a test. Fatah al-Islam would like to see how the Lebanese army deals with the families to see whether there could be a possibility for surrender," Zeina Khodr said.

    Gunfire and shelling could be heard again shortly after the evacuation on Friday, signalling that the temporary truce was over.

    Overnight talks
     
    Negotiations on the evacuation began overnight on Monday when Taha contacted Sheikh Mohammed Hajj, spokesman for the Palestinian clerics.

    After negotiations began on Monday, the army said it would allow the families safe passage from the seafront camp but the delegation of clerics lost contact with the fighters.


    Most of the about 35,000 residents of the Nahr al-Bared fled shortly after the army began to bombard Fatah al-Islam positions with artillery and tank shells.

    At least 200 people, including 142 soldiers, have been killed in the standoff, the deadliest internal unrest in Lebanon since the 1975-1990 civil war.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.