Lebanese army besieges seven Palestinian bases near Syrian border in response to the US and UN demand to disarm them. Palestinian leader claims to have kidnapped 6 Lebanese soldiers

debkafile reports: The two Lebanese battalions backed by 50 armored cars are deployed around the camps in the foothills of the counter-Lebanon range that marks the border. Two are operated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian-General Command, whose leader Ahmed Jibril claims the six abductions, and five by Abu Mussa’s breakaway Fatah-Intifada. A Lebanese officer added his troops are also posted on eight dirt tracks used by the Palestinians to bring in men and materiel from Syria.
debkafile‘s military sources add: Two of the Palestinian bases are in Halwa near Sultan Yakub, where the PFLP-GC is dug in in caves which Syrian military engineers have fortified as bunkers; the Abu Mussa outfit is deployed in the Rashaya district, to the west.
They are under orders from the high command in Damascus to stay put.
This is because they control the Lebanese Beqaa-Damascus highway, which the Syrians have always been jealous to protect because in a war it would be easy route for the Israeli army to cut through to reach Damascus.
When the Syrians were forced by the Security Council to pull their army out of Lebanon, they left armed Palestinian forces as watchdogs over the strategic route under Syrian command. By laying the Palestinians to siege, Beirut has delivered a nasty setback to the regime and high command in Damascus.
For the moment, the Lebanese battalions are at a standstill, waiting for the UN Security Council to judge the presence of armed Palestinian outside the refugee camps illegal. Jibril exploited the lull to nab 6 Lebanese soldiers as hostages against attack, one of them an officer. The Lebanese forces deny the abductions. debkafile reports the denial gives the Lebanese a pretext to hold back from an immediate military clash which could spread to other parts of Lebanon.
In the south, Lebanese troops are deployed outside the Palestinian refugee camps. For the first time in many years, they are conducting searches of people going in and out.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Font Resize
Contrast