Last Syrian units leaving Lebanon

Lebanese forces have taken control over Anjar in the country's eastern Bekaa valley, Aljazeera reported.

    Syrian forces are expected to finish the pullout on Tuesday

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Lebanon said the Syrian army's intelligence chief in Lebanon, Major-General Rustum Ghazala, crossed the border and arrived in Damascus on Monday.

     

    Ghazala's departure came after Lebanese security forces took control of the last positions vacated by Syrian forces in Anjar.

     

    The final handover of control to Lebanese forces will be carried out on Tuesday in a ceremony where Syrian forces will be honoured for their services to Lebanon.

     

    Earlier, on Sunday, Syrian soldiers were seen loading ammunition and knocking down the walls of an old base in eastern Lebanon, effectively ending a 29-year military presence.

     

    Under pouring rain, a convoy of 200 armoured vehicles towing cannons and rocket launchers, T-52 and T72 tanks, military trucks and buses carrying more than 500 soldiers were seen heading to the Masnaa border point.

     

    Serious blow

     

    Most of the last 1000 Syrian troops in Lebanon have withdrawn in the past few days. A senior Lebanese military officer said 300 would remain behind until Tuesday for the final ceremony.

     

    "All Syrian troops will leave Lebanon by Tuesday," an officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

     

    By meeting international demands to pull out all its troops from Lebanon, Syria hopes to patch up its troubled relations with the West but the end to a lengthy

    deployment risks delivering a serious blow to the government's authority, analysts say.

      

    "A humbling exit that could have been so different"

    Michel Kilo,
    Syrian political scientist

    "A humbling exit that could have been so different," was how 

    one dissident academic, political scientist Michel Kilo, described the withdrawal.

      

    He recalled how Syria had repeatedly declined to withdraw its troops when it had the opportunity to do so of its own free will.

      

    By failing to withdraw after Israel's 2000 pullout from the south, Damascus missed the chance of a hero's send-off.

      

    Now the government needed to accept the "sea change" in the politics of its smaller neighbour and undertake not just a troop withdrawal but a "complete disengagement" from Lebanon, Kilo said.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    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.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.