As the war in Lebanon continues and the death toll mounts, the soldiers there are becoming younger and younger.
SV Military band playing PAN OVER AND ZOOM IN TO Bashir Gemayel listening
SV Audience in grandstand PAN ACROSS TO young Falangists marching
SV Young Falangists marching (3 shots)
SV Female commando combat unit in demonstration
GV Troops giving fighting display
SV Gemayel handing over martyrs' flag
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Background: As the war in Lebanon continues and the death toll mounts, the soldiers there are becoming younger and younger.
SYNOPSIS: In this mountain stronghold in northern Lebanon the atmosphere is one of confidence and determination. These soldiers are all young Falangists, one of the right-wing, mainly Christian factions fighting against left-wing Moslems. This week another batch of young fighters took part in a graduation parade. The training now over, they are ready for battle.
Training starts at a young age. Some of the boys are only 10 years old, perhaps younger. The Christians, with Syrian support, now control at least 60 per cent of the country, according to reliable news sources. So there is a growing air of optimism. This comes after 17 months of civil war and the deaths of some 40,000 people.
The Falangists now have a special women's unit in their army. they're all volunteers, some as young as 15. They go through two months intensive training, including weapons handling. Many of them have lost relatives fighting in the war. The rightists have been opposed to Palestinian moves for blanket conscription.
Although the Falangists have as yet no formal system of conscription, Christian males of military age have long been forbidden from leaving the rightist enclaves without a permit. The Falangist military leader Bashir Gamayel, was at the graduation ceremony. He handed over the martyrs' flag to the inheritors of Lebanon's battle fields.