MIDDLE EAST: Syria Tries a Shock Treatment

The truce is threatened by reduction of a policeman's role

The crackle of gunfire and mortars has long been a normal sound of life in war-scarred Lebanon, where rival Palestinians, Muslim leftists and Christian Phalangists warily coexist under the watchful eyes of 30,000 Syrian peacekeeping troops. Last week the tenuous three-year-old truce in Lebanon was once again broken by sporadic fighting after Syria announced that it would soon reduce its policeman's role in Beirut. At the same time, the Damascus government said that it would move some of its Beirut-based forces into the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon to buttress Syria's...

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