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News In Brief

December 20, 1983



Beirut

Lebanese cease-fire tested in a clash outside Beirut

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The Lebanese Army clashed with Druze militiamen southeast of Beirut Monday in the first notable violation of Friday's cease-fire, security and Druze sources said.

The clashes lasted for an hour before a local cease-fire was arranged. An official in the Druze Progressive Socialist Party said the PSP still considered Friday's truce to be in force.

Meanwhile, US warships pounded Syrian antiaircraft positions in Lebanon for the third time in less than a week after reconnaissance planes were again attacked. But Syrian President Hafez al-Assad vowed his forces would continue firing at American surveillance flights.

In another development, a key meeting of the foreign ministers of Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia broke off in Damascus. The officials were trying to arrange a resumption of reconciliation talks among Lebanon's warring factions. Syria and Lebanon said another meeting was scheduled for next month in Riyadh, dashing hopes the Lebanese leaders would assemble quickly.