3 join to oppose Lebanese head

Three Lebanese politicians sympathetic to Syria announced the formation of a ''National Salvation Front'' to oppose the government of President Amin Gemayel.

Walid Jumblatt, leader of Lebanon's Druze minority, proclaimed the formation of the front Saturday in a statement that virtually declared war on the Lebanese Army. The leftist Muslim said he would lead the front with former President Suleiman Franjieh and ex-Prime Minister Rashid Karami, leading politicians in northern Lebanon.

Mr. Jumblatt, whose followers have been warring near Beirut with Christian militiamen of Mr. Gemayel's Phalangist Party, said the front would administer areas in northern and eastern Lebanon now held by Syria. Jumblatt said his front would work with Syria and Libya to ''foil the partition plot against Lebanon.'' But the front's formation heightened fears among many Lebanese of a long-term partition of Lebanon into a Syrian-controlled northern zone, an Israeli-held southern region, and a small area around the capital controlled by the Lebanese government.

Mr. Jumblatt also confirmed that his supporters were behind Friday's rocket and shell attacks on Beirut airport, the Lebanese Air Force base near it, and an Army training camp. At least 20 people were killed.

Meanwhile, new clashes were reported over the weekend in eastern Lebanon between supporters and foes of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The clashes effectively cut the main Beirut-Damascus highway.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.