Source Pravda.Ru

Syrian military intelligence vacates office in Beirut

A day after the country's biggest opposition demonstration, Syrian military intelligence on Tuesday were vacating an office in Beirut, hauling furniture into trucks protected by Lebanese police.

Police blocked the road in the Hamra district of Beirut in the morning as three trucks started loading the furniture from the office. Two agents sat at the entrance of the building amid the chairs and tables ready to be loaded. A policeman at the scene said some Syrian agents have already left and the others were on their way out.

However, Syrian agents remained at their main office for the Lebanese capital, located at Ramlet el-Baida on the edge of the city.

Despite Syria's troop withdrawal last week from northern and central Lebanon to positions in eastern Lebanon closer to their country's border, most intelligence offices, the widely resented arm through which Syria has controlled many aspects of Lebanese life, remained. But intelligence agents closed offices in two northern towns and dismantled two checkpoints in the area.

Also Tuesday on Beirut's seafront corniche, workers removed and folded a giant portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad in a symbolic move. About two dozen Lebanese arrived later at the scene waving flags.

Syrian laborers have been attacked and a bust of the late Syrian President Hafez Assad vandalized recently amid rising anti-Syrian sentiment sparked by the Feb. 14 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.

Associated Press

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