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Finally we are free, Freedom to Lebanon, Thanks to all of you who supported us for 29 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • paul eid
    BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- The last Syrian soldiers have left Lebanon, surrendering to international and Lebanese popular demands and ending its 29-year military
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26, 2005
      BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- The last Syrian soldiers have
      left Lebanon, surrendering to international and
      Lebanese popular demands and ending its 29-year
      military presence in its smaller neighbor.

      Syrians awaiting them waved flags as the troops
      crossed the border. Earlier Tuesday, a formal ceremony
      marked the withdrawal in the Bekaa Valley.

      About 400 Syrian and Lebanese forces assembled on the
      narrow parade grounds and were jointly reviewed by the
      chiefs of staff for each as dignitaries looked on.

      The Syrian army Chief of Staff, Gen. Ali Habib,
      defended his country's nearly three decade stay,
      saying Lebanon was being left a stronger nation.

      "It goes without saying that Syrian armed forces
      didn't enter Lebanon because they wanted to, but
      because of a call from the Lebanese government," Habib
      said. "Syria never had any desires or ambitions in
      Lebanon except to preserve it's unity."

      Syrian forces controlled much of the country's affairs
      for 29 years, but pressure came for them to withdraw
      after former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was
      assassinated February 14 in a car bombing.

      Many Lebanese people blamed Damascus for the killing,
      which sparked massive demonstrations calling for Syria
      to leave the nation.

      Opposition groups also called on Lebanon's top
      security officials, all considered to be pro-Syrian,
      to resign.

      On Monday, Lebanon's pro-Syrian security chief Jamil
      al-Sayyed quit after Syria over the weekend made its
      final push to jettison most remaining soldiers.

      Less than three hours after the last Syrian soldiers
      were seen leaving, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk
      al-Sharaa said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General
      Kofi Annan that "all Arab Syrian forces have returned
      to Syria," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

      Annan, who has dispatched a verification team, was
      expected to submit a report to the U.N. Security
      Council later Tuesday about Syria's compliance with
      the resolution.

      A security council resolution adopted last September
      calls for the pullout of all foreign forces from
      Lebanon.

      Syrians entered the country in 1976 as peacekeepers in
      the Lebanese civil war. By 1990, 40,000 Syrian troops
      remained.

      Over the last 15 years, the number had decreased to
      14,000.

      Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman said the
      nations will always be linked.

      "Together comrades in arms against Israel ... a
      cooperative relationship in all areas together," he
      said. "To fend off all sectarianism and divisive
      forces. Our challenges are one. Our interests are
      one."

      Key parliamentary elections are due to be held by May
      29, two days before parliament's term ends.

      Hariri was a key mover in getting a U.N. resolution to
      call on Syria to remove its troops and intelligence
      assets from Lebanon. Resolution 1559, passed last
      year, also called on Lebanon to disband guerrilla
      groups.

      Hariri's death is at the center of an international
      investigation authorized by the U.N. Security Council.

      A U.N. report released last month said the government
      of Syria "interfered" with governance in Lebanon in a
      heavy-handed way that was "the primary reason for the
      political polarization that ensued" before Hariri's
      death.




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