- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 21, 2006

As the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday was calling on Syria to recognize Lebanon as an independent, sovereign state by establishing full diplomatic relations with Beirut and demarcating borders between the two countries, Syria, (joined by its ally Iran) responded nastily: Both Tehran and Damascus quickly denounced United Nations Security Council Resolution 1680, which passed the Security Council by a 13-0 vote (with China and Russia abstaining). Even as the Security Council was voting, terrorist proxies of Syria were fighting against the Lebanese Army in the Bekaa Valley — a region which became one of the world’s leading international terrorist training centers during Syria’s formal occupation of the country, which ended last year.

Today — more than one year after Syria was supposed to have ended its occupation of Lebanon required under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 — President Bashar Assad’s regime continues to occupy that part of Lebanon. Lebanese who visited the Bekaa several weeks ago told The Washington Times that they saw Syrian military forces on Lebanese territory. Lebanese soldiers escorting them in the area urged them to leave before sundown, saying they could not guarantee their safety after dark.

On Wednesday, as the Security Council was debating UNSCR 1680, the Lebanese Army clashed with members of Fatah Uprising, a Palestinian rejectionist group based in Damascus. Lebanese security sources said that they came under fire from members of that group at a village near the Syrian border. On Friday, a Lebanese soldier died of wounds suffered in the fighting with the Palestinians. Two wounded members of the Fatah Uprising organization were evacuated to Syria for medical treatment, Palestinian sources said, and the Lebanese government reported that after the fighting began, Palestinians based in Syria sent 50 fighters, as well as trucks, jeeps and an anti-aircraft gun, across the border to aid the Fatah splinter group in combatting the Lebanese Army.

This is hardly the first time that the Lebanese have found themselves under siege by Syrian-backed foreign fighters since the bulk of Syrian troops departed Lebanon last spring. In October, after a Lebanese Army topographer was shot to death in the Bekaa Valley, more than 1,000 Lebanese troops in armored personnel carriers with tank support were deployed around the nearby Lebanese headquarters of two Syrian-backed terrorist groups: Fatah Uprising and Ahmed Jibril’s PFLP-GC. Syria, in short, is subverting Lebanon by proxy.

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