Turkish Forces Arrive in Lebanon

BEIRUT (Armenpress)–Turkish peacekeepers arrived in Lebanon to join other countries in the international force supervising a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese official news agency reported Tuesday. The seven officers are part of a 270-man engineering corps scheduled to be deployed near the southern port of Tyre around October 20, the news agency said. The Turkish troops will help rebuild bridges in southern Lebanon. On Friday, a Turkish vessel left south-west Turkey to join a German-led naval task force in patrolling the Lebanese coast to prevent arms shipment to the Shiite militia Hezbollah. Turkey is to deploy some 700 soldiers in Lebanon, including troops aboard navy ships. The Turkish soldiers are the first Muslem troops to arrive in Lebanon. The Turkish parliament authorized the government to send a naval force and to deploy land troops for non-combat missions like building bridges and to help in training the Lebanese army. The Armenian community in Lebanon objected to Turkey taking part in the UN force, citing the Armenian Genocide as one of the concerns. Representatives of the community sent letters to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and to Western embassies in Beirut urging them to reject Turkish participation in UNIFIL

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