ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East


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Syrian Occupation of Lebanon


Dictatorship in Syria
The Syrian Military's Occupation of Lebanon
Syrian Massacres Against Civilian Lebanese
Syrian Torture and Use of WMD Against Lebanese Detainees in Syrian Prisons

Syrian Organized Ethnic Cleansing Against Lebanese
Syrian Political Dominance over the Lebanese Political Life
Syrian Destruction of the Lebanese Economy
Syrian Control of the Lebanese Media
Syrian Destruction of the Lebanese Social and Cultural System



Syria and Lebanon had normal and pleasant relations, once upon a time. The two nations shared many cultural and social aspects. But, after the Second World War, they stepped into two different directions.
While Lebanon moved toward democracy and free-market trade, adapting the West European model, Syria gradually allied itself with the Soviet Union and adapted its totalitarian political system and its communist economical system. By the end of the sixties, the cliff between the two countries was growing wider; Lebanon made its way toward democracy and prosperity claming for itself titles such as ‘the only democracy among Arab countries’ and ‘ Switzerland of the Middle East’, while Syria was subject to consecutive coups with a torn-economy and week political system that hardly survived a short-lived union with the Arab Republic of Egypt.


Dictatorship in Syria

In November of 1970, Hafez Assad of Syria led a coup and proclaimed the Arabian Baath Party of Syria as the ruling party of the nation, banning all other parties. Assad took advantage of the state of war between Israel and the Arab countries to achieve his dream of annexing the small, well prospered-and-advanced, country of Lebanon at the same time enforcing a socialist dictatorship in Syria based on persecuting his opponents and brutally massacring tens of thousands of Syrians to maintain his power.

The Syrian Military's Occupation of Lebanon

The Syrian Invasion Begins
The Syrian regime gained the opportunity of the disorder in Lebanon and started interfering by forming Saheka guerillas, a Syrian-Palestinian guerrilla that operates in Lebanon. In 1970, Jordan expelled the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from its territories sending many civilian refugees and armed guerillas into Lebanon. The dictator of Syria, Hafez Asad, clearly declared his intentions of annexing Lebanon on August 8, 1973 by announcing that ‘Lebanon and Syria are one country and one people but have two governments’. While arms and funding were flowing to Lebanon and many political parties were turning into armed forces, the Syrian regimes worked on weakening the Lebanese government and hence the Lebanese army by supporting various militias to grow disorder and spark sectarian conflicts. In 1973, Saheka, a Syria-Palestinian militia attacked the village of Der Ashash in North Lebanon, killing three priests and displacing its residents. Several similar attacks followed that incident creating a mounting temper in Lebanon. On April 13, 1975, Palestinian gunmen killed four Christian Lebanese in front of a church east of Beirut, while Christian militiamen ambushed a busload of Palestinians later of the same day. A brutal fight broke up the war in Lebanon then. November 2, 1975, an entire Battalion of Syrian Special Forces entered Lebanon through Bekaa Valley. In January of the following year, Syrian Vice President announced to Kuwaiti newspaper “Lebanon is a part of Syria, and Lebanon will be returned to Syria…this should be clear to everyone”. One week later, a battalion from the Palestine Liberation army, under Syrian command, entered the Bekaa and started confrontations with the Lebanese army, while more Syrian and Palestinian forces entered Northern Lebanon attacking Lebanese police and security forces. By end of January 1976, the Syrian-Palestinian forces had committed a great massacre in Damour village killing hundreds of its residents and displacing the rest and leaving nothing but rubble. In May of 1976, the Syrian army invaded the Lebanese northern region of Akkar, and advanced into the Bekaa valley east of Lebanon. A month later, the Syrian dictator, Hafez Assad, delivered his infamous speech in the Syrian capital stating that he sent the Syrian army to Lebanon without permission from any authorities. By the end of 1976, the Syrian troops in Lebanon were estimated to be around 25,000 thousand (ie: one soldier for every 100 Lebanese citizen).

The Syrian Regime Enforces its Positions in Lebanon
The League of Arab Countries sent peacekeeping troops to Lebanon. In the following year, the Syrian troops harassed the Arab forces forcing them to leave Lebanon in order for them to operate loose on the Lebanese territories. By 1977, The Syrian forces in Lebanon exceeded 30,000 troops. Palestinian and other pro-Syrian militias were bringing to an end Syrian control by occupying their own positions in Lebanon. The Syrians forces turned over them and disintegrated them, then turned to the Christian and rightist forces and destroyed the areas they control while worked on paralyzing the Lebanese army. The Syrian troops in Lebanon launched a war to silence the Lebanese voices that were criticizing its martial interference. Syrian forces attacked Lebanese magazines and newspapers, assassinated Lebanese national and religious figures such as the Druze leader Kamal Jumblat. The Syrian forces kept occupying cities in northern Lebanon, central Lebanon and in Beirut with several attempts to occupy the Lebanese army headquarters.
The Palestinian militiamen continued launching attacks against Northern Israel from the areas they controlled in South Lebanon. The Israeli response was more severe and often impacted Lebanese civilians. The attacks developed into an Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon in March 1978. The United Nations Interim Forces were deployed in South Lebanon to reduce the tension, and the Israeli forces pulled back.
The Syrian army continued to gradually occupy more regions in Lebanon including parts of the capital Beirut. They continued their policy in disintegrating and swallowing Lebanon; Several Christian Priests and Muslim clerks were assassinated, not to mention journalists and western diplomats and ambassadors in the period between 1978 and 1982. The Palestinians in South Lebanon were encouraged by the Syrians to create the disruption in Lebanon which was necessary for the Syrians to enact their plans.

(1982-1988) Syrian Forces Destroying Lebanon Capturing More of its Land
In June 1982, the Israeli forces invaded Lebanon reaching into Beirut. A multinational force made up of US and West European troops were deployed in Beirut after an international mediation took place. The agreement called for PLO, Syrian and Israeli forces to pull of Beirut. Thousands of PLO militiamen were deported from Lebanon while the Syrian and Israeli army were withdrawing from Beirut.
In September 1982, the Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel was assassinated which disrupted the agreement. In the following year, Syrian-sponsored groups launched suicide-bombing attacks against the peacekeeping US and French military barracks killing 300 of them. The multinational troops were forced to leave Lebanon while the Syrian troops advanced in Beirut and launched several attempts to occupy the Lebanese Ministry of Defense and presidential palace. On September 9, 1983, the Lebanese government notified the UN and the European governments that the Syrian and the Palestinian forces are fighting to bring down the legal government of Lebanon.
In 1985 Israel withdrew most of its forces from Lebanon keeping a strip along its borders controlled by Israeli troops and proxy guerillas. On December 27, 1985, the Syrian regime tried to impose an agreement on the Lebanese parties to maintains its control over Lebanon. The plan was turned down in bloody fight.
Syria continued its policy of spreading its homogony on Lebanon using extreme violence against the Lebanese people. On the other hand, it used hostagetaking against American and West-European countries while sponsoring communist and radical groups.

(1988-1990) The final Confrontations
In 1998, Syrian troops and their allies worked on preventing the election of a new Lebanese president in order to completely paralyze the Lebanese authorities. The Lebanese president then, used his constitutional prerogative and appointed the Lebanese Army Commander as a Prime Minister of interim government before ending his term. The Syrians opposed the Lebanese Government and shelled the Lebanese civilian areas with heavy bombs and artillery. Meanwhile, the Lebanese Primer managed to gain popularity by enforcing the role of the Lebanese army over the militia, activating the governmental departments and working for political and economical reforms. The Lebanese Government launched a war of liberation against the Syrian army demanding the scheduling of a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. The Syrian occupation troops pressured Lebanese politicians in the areas it occupied to oppose the Lebanese government; they had even assassinated the highest Sunni Muslim clerk, mufti of Lebanon because of his rejection of the Syrian fight against Lebanese.

Syrian Complete Occupation of Lebanon
In August of 1990 Iraq invaded its neighboring country of Kuwait, and attracted the international community’s attention to the occupation of the small oil-rich-country and the threats to the world-largest oil reserve of Saudi Arabia. The Syrian regime gained the opportunity and promised not to side with Iraq in return of controlling Lebanon. On October 13, 1990, the Syrian troops launched aerial and ground attacks and occupied the Lebanese presidential palace and the ministry of defense defeating the reminder of the Lebanese army. The Syrian regime appointed their own proxy government and president in occupied Lebanon and started a large-scale persecution operation against Lebanese people: arresting, abducting, torturing and killing whoever opposes its occupation.
The Syrian-appointed government in occupied Lebanon exiled the Lebanese Primer to France and 'legitimized' the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Syria took drastic measures to enforce its military and political presence in Lebanon. It occupied more than 90% of Lebanon, including the capital, the airport, the harbors and all major cities. Syria disarmed most of Lebanese militia except for those affiliated with it such as Hizballah, Amal and radical Palestinian militias. The Lebanese army was restrained from performing any major activities and was directed to internal security functions. The Syrian puppet regime of Lebanon amended the Lebanese constitution, and drew several agreements with the Syrian regime giving Syria advantages of using the Lebanese natural resources and abusing the free-market benefits in Lebanon. The Lebanese community, especially universities, youth, engineers, physicians, lawyers and teachers started a peaceful revolution to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 520 that calls for Syria to completely withdrawal from Lebanon.

In the year 2000, Israel retreated from South Lebanon per the UN resolution 425, and in respect to the Lebanese international borders. Serving Syrian interests, Hizbollah guerillas refused to disarm and enroll in the civilian social and political life after the Israeli withdrawal, which deprived it from most of its Lebanese popularity (Details). It occupied the Southern territories that were evacuated by the Israelis, while the Syrian regime prevented the Lebanese army from deploying in these territories.
Post Israeli withdrawal, more national, regional and international voices pressured the Syrian regime to remove its troops from Lebanon. The Syrian Baath regime tried to bring a conflict with the United Nation and Israel over ‘Shebaa Farmland’ in order to keep tension between Lebanon and Israel and divert the calls for Syrian withdrawal (Details).

Syrian Military, Security and Intelligence Control of Lebanon
Syria stationed its commanding supervision at the Lebanese Ministry of Defense east of Beirut. Syrian Colonel Ghazi Kanaan, the Syrian Security and intelligence Chief in Lebanon, became the direct ruler of the occupied country. The presence of Syrian soldiers and intelligence members (mukhabarat) in Beirut, at Syrian checkpoints and several official departments became daily occurrences for the Lebanese. By the year 2003, approximately 30,000 Syrian troops and 25,000 intelligence members were deployed in Lebanon (that is 1Syrian soldier for every 50 Lebanese). The Lebanese military personnel were forced to attend Syrian academies for their officer training in lieu of the US and West-European academies pre-Syrian occupation. The Syrian occupation forces depended on terrorizing the Lebanese people by searching out, arresting and abducting people for no particular reason; and subjecting them to torture and death. Some were transferred, in contrast with all international laws, to Syrian prisons such as Mazze, Palmyra and Tadmor in addition to the Syrian detention facilities in occupied Lebanon; in Tripoli, Beirut, Shtura and Anjar. Neither were public charges made against the accused, nor were trials held against the detainees. Meanwhile, the Syrian mukhabarat continued monitoring telephone conversations of Lebanese citizens, and recording visits to religious figures such as the Maronite Christians Patriarch, Nasrallah Sfier.

Syrian Massacres Against Civilian Lebanese

Syria's brutal conquering of Lebanon and the continuous persecution of the people caused more than one hundred thousand casualties, led to the destruction of entire cities and imposed the displacement of hundreds of thousands. Some of the documented Syrian crimes against the Lebanese people are presented on the following page.

Click here to watch part of the cruelty of the Syrian Regime and terrorist atrocities
this regime is accountable for in Lebanon.

Please be advised, the presented images may be disturbing to sensitive individuals
Syrian Torture and Use of WMD Against Lebanese Detainees in Syrian Prisons

Syrian Political Dominance over the Lebanese Political Life

Syrian Organized Ethnic Cleansing Against Lebanese

Syrian Destruction for the Lebanese Economy

Syrian Control of the Lebanese Media

Syrian Destruction for the Lebanese Social and Cultural System



To conclude, the Lebanese do not hold the Syrian people, rather Syrian regime responsible and accountable for all the crimes that regime has been committing against the Lebanese community and the human race in general. The Syrian people, as well as every individual and institute in the free world, are responsible for refraining from acting to cease the crime against the Lebanese nation.


AlAhram Newspaer, Egypt, Sep. 26, 1975.
Conflict and Violence in Lebanon: Confrontation in the Middle East, Walid Khalidi, 1984
From Israel to Damascus, Robert Hatem, 1999.
Lebanon Country Report on Human Rights for 1998, US Department of State, February 1999.
New York Times, May 9, 1997.
DOLID, Semaine D’Action Et De Soutien Des Libanais Detentus Dans Les Prisons Syriennes, Paris, January 26, 1998, February 1, 1998 and February 20 1998.
Syrian Intervention in Lebanon: The 1975-76 Civil War, Naomi J. Weinberger, NY, 1986
The Syrian Involvement in Lebanon Since 1975, Reuven Avi-Ran, 1991

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