Syria ends military presence in Lebanon before elections

[JURIST] Syria completed a withdrawal of its military forces from Lebanon Tuesday, ending a 29-year presence just weeks before thr country's's parliamentary elections. The February 14 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri, suspected to be the work of Syrian backers of the Lebanese government, brought about massive civil unrest in Lebanon, and growing dissatisfaction with Syrian occupation. Additionally, pressure was placed upon Syria by the US and UN to withdraw its military forces. UN Resolution 1559 [official text, PDF], passed in late 2004, called for Syria to withdraw all of its forces. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dispatched a team to verify the withdrawal. Syrians entered Lebanon in 1976, as peacekeepers in Lebanon's civil war. After the war ended in 1990, 40,000 Syrian troops remained, causing Lebanese politics to be heavily influenced by Syria. AP has more. The Daily Star has local coverage from Lebanon.

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