Advertisement

Syria Deploys Troops Near Israeli Security Zone in S. Lebanon

December 30, 1987|Associated Press

BEIRUT — Syria has deployed about 700 troops opposite Israel's self-proclaimed security zone in southeast Lebanon, anticipating possible Israeli retaliation for a Palestinian hang-glider raid, police said Tuesday.

A police spokesman said the soldiers from Syria's special forces arrived over the weekend in the Bekaa valley town of Mashgharah, 2 1/2 miles north of the Israeli zone.

The force is equipped with Soviet-made rocket launchers, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns, said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tension has been high in south Lebanon since Nov. 26 when a Palestinian gunman crossed the Israeli border in a mechanized hang glider and killed six Israeli troops in an army camp in northern Israel.

The Syrians have traditionally maintained about 60 soldiers in Mashgharah, a half-Muslim, half-Christian town about 30 miles southeast of Beirut.

Israel invaded Lebanon in June, 1982, to drive out the Palestine Liberation Organization. It set up the security zone after withdrawing the bulk of its forces in 1985.

The narrow strip, extending from the Mediterranean coast to the foothills of Mt. Hermon, is designed to serve as a buffer against guerrilla raids into northern Israel.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|