Hundred Days' War
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|Hundred Days War|
|Part of the Lebanese Civil War|
|Lebanese Front Army of Free Lebanon|| Syrian Army
|Commanders and leaders|
| Pierre Gemayel
| Hafez al-Assad
|Casualties and losses|
|160 dead and 400 injured|
The Hundred Days War (Arabic: حرب المئة يوم | Harb Al-Mia’at Yaoum), also known as 'La Guerre des Cent Jours' in French was a subconflict within the 1977–82 phase of the Lebanese Civil War which occurred at the Lebanese Capital Beirut. It was fought between the allied Christian Lebanese Front militias, under the command of the Kataeb Party's President Bashir Gemayel, and the Syrian troops of the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF).
After a series of bomb attacks that rocked Beirut on early February 1978, the ADF stepped up its security measures by increasing the number of patrols and checkpoints in the streets. On the 7th, Lebanese soldiers belonging to the Army of Free Lebanon (AFL) – a breakaway faction of the Lebanese Army led by the rightist dissident Colonel Antoine Barakat – objected to the ADF establishing a checkpoint near their HQ at the main Fayadieh barracks, a forteress-like military facility located in the namesake Christian district. The ADF detachment, which comprised twenty Syrian regular soldiers, refused to move out, causing an argument which ended with a shootout on which 19 people lost their lives. The Syrian soldiers were taken prisoner by the AFL regulars and held hostage at Fayadieh barracks, and the situation grew tenser that dawn when the bodies of two slain Christians were found nearby.
The next day, Syrian ADF infantry units backed by artillery surrounded and bombarded the AFL fortified barracks, setting part of the complex on fire.
Kataeb Regulatory Forces ‘Commando’ troops under the command of Bashir Gemayel and the Tigers Militia led by Dany Chamoun were drawn into the action against the Syrians. That afternoon Syria shelled Achrafieh and attacked the Tigers' HQ. The fighting soon spread to east of Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Syrians took high buildings such as Burj Rizk in Achrafieh and Burj El Murr using snipers and heavy weapons against civilians. The soldiers stayed for 90 days.
Another major clash took place near the Sodeco area in Achrafieh where the Christian militia Forces fought ferociously and led the Syrian army out of the Rizk Building. At this time, Israel was the primary backer of the Lebanese Front’s militias.
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In April, rightist leaders accused the ADF of bias when it intervened to contain the clashes across the Green Line between the Christian-held Ain al-Rammaneh and Muslim-held Shiyah districts of Beirut.
However, the LF attack on the pro-Syrian Marada Brigade militia of the Frangieh Clan that summer, which culminated in the infamous Ehden massacre, provoked another round of fighting in June–July. President Sarkis threatened to resign in protest over the Syrian bombardment of East Beirut, but later withdrew his resignation when the shelling stopped. More fighting erupted in the fall, again followed by a ceasefire. In October 1978, the Foreign Ministers of Lebanon and those Arab League states contributing to the ADF – Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, Qatar, and the UAE) – met at the town of Beit ed-Dine, in the Chouf District south-east of Beirut. The outcome of the meeting was essentially a reaffirmation of the role of the ADF and a strong condemnation of those dealing with Israel.
- Text of the Beit ed-Dine declaration in Middle East Report (MER), October 21, 1978, pp. 17-18.
- Edgar O'Ballance, Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92, Palgrave Macmillan, London 1998. ISBN 0-333-72975-7
- Moustafa El-Assad, Civil Wars Volume 1: The Gun Trucks, Blue Steel books, Sidon 2008. ISBN 9953-0-1256-8
- Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: the PLO in Lebanon, Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.
- Samer Kassis, 30 Years of Military Vehicles in Lebanon, Beirut: Elite Group, 2003.