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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 22:34 GMT 23:34 UK
UN confirms Syria army withdrawal
Posters in Beirut show ex-Lebanon PM Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad
The late Rafik Hariri (right) remains popular on Beirut's streets
The UN has verified that Syrian troops have fully withdrawn from Lebanon, but says it is uncertain whether all intelligence agents have left.

The UN military advisers said the posts formerly occupied by Syrian troops in the Bekaa valley were all empty.

Syria promised to pull out following a UN resolution demanding its withdrawal, and anti-Syrian protests in Beirut.

The troops' departure ends a 29-year presence during which Damascus has held the reins of power in Lebanon.

The UN team said in a report that, since all the sites formerly used by Syrian military intelligence were empty, it concluded "to the best of its ability, that no Syrian military intelligence personnel remain in Lebanon in known locations or in military uniform".

"But the team has been unable to conclude with certainty that all the intelligence apparatus has been withdrawn," it added, noting that "intelligence activities are by nature often clandestine".

In September, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling on Syria to pull all of its troops and intelligence agents out of Lebanon.

Damascus came under further pressure after the assassination of Lebanon's former anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February brought thousands of people onto the streets of Beirut to demand the end of Syrian influence.


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