INTRODUCTION: Attempts are being made in Lebanon to strengthen the position of central government after more than six years of factional bloodshed.
GV Army General Victor Khoury inspecting troops and tank crews.
SV Troopers preparing artillery shells.
GV Field officers watching training exercise.
GV Tanks firing at hillside, shells landing. (4 SHOTS)
SV Troops watching tanks.
SV PAN Tank firing at hillside target.
GV Field officers observing firing.
GV Tank firing.
SV PULL OUT Tank machine gun firing.
SV French "Milan" anti-tank weapon on firing range (2 SHOTS)
SV General Khoury with advisers on firing point.
SV Weapon fired at hillside target, rocket landing, delayed explosion.
GV Troops firing grenade guns.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Attempts are being made in Lebanon to strengthen the position of central government after more than six years of factional bloodshed. Their control has almost disappeared in many areas because of the presence of thriving private armies run by well-equipped Moslem and Christian militias. To combat this, the administration of President Elias Sarkis is building up the Lebanese army with aid from France and the United States. This film was shot in the hills of North Lebanon where new units have been involved in training exercises.
SYNOPSIS: Watching troops, artillery, and tank crews in action was General Victor Khoury, one of the men charged with producing an effective force capable of controlling the Lebanon on behalf of the government.
Before the civil war the army numbered 18,000 troops. But it dropped when the strife began, with many troops deserting to join either Christian or Moslem groups.
At one stage there were less than 2,000 soldiers under government control. Tank and artillery units were few until the decision to rebuild was taken. Only a fortnight ago, 13 light AMX tanks arrived in the country from France, which is playing a big part in the new expansion programme.
In open countryside like this, the tank is an effective weapon, able to strike hard and move away quickly.
This new solidarity of the army received its first test last April and May when there was considerable unrest. Attempts were made to break it up during a wave of sectarianism. But its unity held and continued throughout the crisis in July, which resulted in a tenuous ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Front.
This Milan anti-tank weapon is another of the arms package already in use thanks to the aid from other countries. Most of the new weapons are from the US. But this French system is the most up-to-date and highly effective over long distances.
These are grenade guns for use in street warfare - an all too familiar feature of the struggle for power in Lebanon.