INTRODUCTION: The outbreak of fresh fighting in Lebanon on Monday (6 April) brought a warning from the Left that the country was on the brink of total war.
LS ZOOM GV (firing at start - good sound-)
GV PAN Street and militia in position taking cover (2 shots)
SV PULL BACK Shell hole in wall
GV From shell hole of damaged building(2 shots)
GV Demonstrators with banners waiting to move off
GV Demonstrators marching(2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The outbreak of fresh fighting in Lebanon on Monday (6 April) brought a warning from the Left that the country was on the brink of total war. The Leftist leader Walid Jumblatt, who heads the Moslem-Leftist Alliance, said Lebanon faced a full scale military explosion. Addressing his followers in the mountains south west of the capital Beirut, Mr. Jumblatt said they had no choice but confrontation with the Right. That morning in Beirut fierce mortar, rocket and machine-gun fire had shattered the relative overnight calm. Israeli fighter jets made two sweeps over the capital drawing anti-aircraft fire. Some of the fiercest fighting has been in the town of Zahle, 50 kilometres east of Beirut.
SYNOPSIS: Here in Zahle Right Wing militia men battled troops from the All Syrian Arab Deterrent Force for control of the town. It's the sixth day of fighting. Reporters in a nearby village said Syrian gunners had exchanged intense fire with Militiamen posted in the hills around the town.
Zahle is mainly a Christian town of about one-hundred-and-50 thousand people in a valley otherwise dominated by Syrian troops. The Syrians have a peacekeeping mandate from the Arab League but this is not accepted by the Right-Wing militia.
Later in the day the Lebanese Red Cross announced that its centre in Zahle had been destroyed, its medical equipment lost and its supplies exhausted. The Red Cross said 30 people being treated in the town were in a serious condition and it issued calls for donations of blood. Churchmen have appealed to overseas Governments to intervene to stop the shelling.
On Saturday (4 April) in East Beirut women took to the streets calling for a halt to the fighting.
Observers regard the week's violence as probably the worst since the 1975-76 civil war. A rough estimate says one-hundred-and-40 people have died and five-hundred have been wounded. At the United Nations the Secretary General Kurt Waldheim appealed for the third time in five days for the fighting to stop. France, which has strong historical links with Lebanon, is sending an emissary offering help while the United States has expressed its deep concern.