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Lebanese Troops Find Mass Grave

December 04, 2005|From Reuters

ANJAR, Lebanon — Lebanese forces unearthed at least 20 decomposed corpses Saturday from a mass grave in an eastern town that was the headquarters of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon for three decades, security sources said.

Witnesses and security sources said the remains, most now only skeletons in scraps of underwear, were found on an old onion farm in Anjar, long used by Syrian intelligence as a jail and interrogation center.

They said that the bodies had lain in the shallow grave for more than 12 years but that it was not immediately clear who the people were and how they died. Security forces were using a bulldozer to dig for more bodies.

It is the first such find directly linked to the Syrian presence, which ended in April.

The Lebanese army took over the farm after Syria pulled out of Lebanon amid an international outcry and Lebanese protests over the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Syria deployed troops in Lebanon in 1976, establishing an intelligence network that was feared by many Lebanese and dominating Lebanon's politics after the 1975-90 civil war ended.

Many Lebanese blamed Syria for the death of Hariri in a Feb. 14 truck bombing in Beirut. Syria has denied any involvement.

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