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6.3.1. The Syrian intervention in the Lebanese civil war and presence in Lebanon (1976 – 2005)

Common analysis
Last updated: September 2020

[Security 2020, Annex II]

In June 1976, Syria intervened in the Lebanese civil war sending a force of 25 000 soldiers to Lebanon to prevent the defeat of its Maronite Christian allies. It maintained military presence in Lebanon for the next three decades and exerted significant influence on Lebanese politics. During its presence in Lebanon, Syria maintained up to 30 000 soldiers in the country. It had clashes with Israeli forces and various Lebanese factions. Syria lost thousands of soldiers. During Syria’s military presence in Lebanon, excludable crimes such as forced disappearances and torture were carried out against Lebanese nationals, Palestinian refugees, and others by the Syrian military and intelligence branches. In 2005, following the assassination of the Lebanese premier Rafiq al-Hariri, who was a critic of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon under international pressure.