Syria to Redeploy Troops in Lebanon by End of March
VOA News | March 7, 2005
By Michael Drudge
Syria and Lebanon have agreed the Syrian troops in Lebanon will redeploy to Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley by the end of March. The pullback falls short of international demands for a total and immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops.
The announcement came after talks in Damascus between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese counterpart, Emile Lahoud.
A statement said Syria's 14,000 troops in Lebanon would redeploy to the eastern Bekaa Valley by the end of March.
There was no mention of when Syria might withdraw completely from Lebanon, where Syrian troops have operated since 1976.
A United Nations Security Council resolution demands a complete and total pullout.
As the presidents met in Damascus, tens of thousands of Lebanese demonstrated in Beirut against the Syrian presence. The rally comes on the third week anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, whose killing has increased the pressure on Syria to leave.