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U.N. to verify Syrian Withdrawal

The United Nations has sent a team of experts to Syria and Lebanon, in order to verify the Syrian pullout from Lebanon. The team will hold talks with the Syrian army command on Tuesday, and than travel to Lebanon to ensure that all the troops have indeed left the country.

The Syrian army completed its withdrawal from all Lebanese territories on Tuesday, and marked it with a ceremony at the Riyak Air Base.

The hasty withdrawal which began only two months ago, came following U.N. Resolution 1559 and constant American and European pressure.

The Syrian army entered Lebanon at the beginning of the civil war in 1975. Fourteen thousand troops and intelligence agents stayed in Lebanon until a few weeks ago, when the Syrian regime decided to pull out the troops. The international pressure on Syria increased in February 2005, after the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Al-Hariri. The former premier had expressed his wish for a Syrian withdrawal, and many believe Syria was behind his murder.

It was reported that the U.N. will send a second team to Lebanon on Wednesday, in order to begin the investigation into Al-Hariri’s murder.