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Damascus Expected to Announce Partial Lebanon Pullback

  • VOA News

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is expected to announce a partial redeployment of Syrian troops in Lebanon, in the face of international pressure for a complete withdrawal. Damascus said on Friday, Mr. Assad will address parliament Saturday. Officials in Beirut say he will likely announce a partial withdrawal to Lebanon's eastern Bekaa valley, which borders Syria. Some officials speculate that Mr. Assad will link a full pullout to a resumption of peace talks with Israel. President Bush repeated his position today, saying full withdrawal means both Syrian troops and intelligence agents must leave Lebanon. Thursday, Saudi Arabia joined the United States and Europe in pressing Damascus to withdraw. Syria has come under renewed pressure to pull out since the assassination last month of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. Many in Lebanon have blamed Syria for the killing, and mass opposition demonstrations in Beirut toppled the pro-Syrian government on Monday.
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