Zahle, the biggest Christian town in the East, confronted
one of the biggest battles – both military
and political – between the Lebanese Forces
and the Syrian occupying forces. The Lebanese Forces
was able to confront them even though there was
a big mismatch in military capabilities and was
able to reverse the result of the battle of 1981.
This victory was due to the bravery of the inhabitants
and 92 Lebanese Forces soldiers (L.F Special Forces:
The Maghaweer) sent from Beirut.
The Syrian occupying forces used all kind of weapons
(heavy artillery, tanks, war planes…) against
a peaceful town, and they cut all kind of backup
that may come from the Mountain.
Regardless of the very bad weather and heavy bombing,
convoys were sent in the snow to Zahle. Two Lebanese
Forces soldiers died on a hill due to bad weather,
they were found later holding each other…
till they died.
The battle of Zahle gave the Lebanese Cause a new
perspective in the International Communities, and
the victory was both military and diplomatic.
It made the Leadership of President Bashir Gemayel
much stronger because of his leadership and important
role in this battle.
The battle started in April the 2nd 1981, and finished
with a cease fire and Lebanese Police were sent
to Zahle. The 92 Lebanese Forces heroes returned
to Beirut on the 1st of July 1981.
The casualties were 223 killed and 765 wounded with
heavy material losses.