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Lebanese flag raised in Damascus

Lebanese embassy in Damascus
Lebanon has previously had no presence in its powerful neighbour's capital

Lebanon has opened its first embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus five months after the neighbours set up diplomatic ties following decades of turbulence.

Lebanese charge d'affaires Rami Mortada raised his country's distinctive cedar flag over the building in Abu Remmaneh.

The diplomatic deal in October ended a 60-year impasse since independence was gained from colonial France.

Lebanon has named Michel al-Khoury, currently stationed in Cyprus, as its first ambassador to Syria.

Syria has not named its envoy to Lebanon. It opened an embassy in Beirut in December.

Tension has been high between the neighbours since the 2005 assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Many Lebanese blame Damascus for the killing, but it denies involvement.

In April 2005, the Syrian army pulled out of Lebanon, ending a 29-year presence during which Damascus held the reins of power in Lebanon.



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