The Syrian-Christian offensive in Lebanon in the mountains east of Beirut, the capital, has been celebrated with an open-air victory mass in the strategic village of Metn, which was seized over the weekend.
CU Christian militia men being briefed in East Beirut mountains, Lebanon. (2 shots)
GV Convoy moves along road carrying men and equipment.
GV Bell ringing and village wreckage. (2 shots)
GV Villagers carrying goods. (2 shots)
GV Tank fires in unison with heavy machine guns. (3 shots)
SV Christian soldiers on truck into village.
SV Armoured vehicle with Syrian troops past.
SV PAN Villager walks past wreckage to others arriving for mass.
CU Mother carrying battle suited child
SCU (Right to Left) Rashir Gemayel, Amin Gemayel and Shaker Abu Sleiman greeting villagers.
GV ZOOM OUT FROM Syrian soldiers on roof-top TO women soldiers at mass. (2 shots)
SV The Gemayels seated during mass PAN OVER congregation.
REPORTER "These Christian militiamen are parching themselves up for a final assault on a village their Syrian allies had overrun several hours before. A massive convoy of men and equipment moves in to provide the facade of liberation. This village has been contested for six months. It is now virtually destroyed. Seven thousand people used to live in this town. Fewer than one hundred are still here. Occasionally the Christian militiamen encounter light resistance left over after the Syrian advance. It is quickly despatched. The mountain offensive is a major victory for the Christian Lebanese. A victory they have failed to achieve on their own for the last six months. The Syrian Army has won the battle for them but at a price that is yet to be revealed."
REPORTER: "After the liberation of the village a Christian mass was held in the town of metn to mark the victory."
REPORTER: "The mass was attended by villagers and Christian Lebanese leaders, among them Sheik Pierre Gemayel and his son Bashir, in military uniform, together with other members of the Gemayel family."
REPORTER: "The service was conducted under the watchful eyes of the ever-present Syrian soldiers."
REPORTER: "It was the first organised religious ceremony in the town since the Palestinians were driven out. Meanwhile leaders of the Moslem Druze Community are reported to be going to Syrie to denounce alleged atrocities in villages captured by Lebanese-Syrian right-wing forces last week."
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Background: The Syrian-Christian offensive in Lebanon in the mountains east of Beirut, the capital, has been celebrated with an open-air victory mass in the strategic village of Metn, which was seized over the weekend. Meanwhile, the drive against the Palestinians and their left-wing allies went on. A reporter takes up the story.