The last Syrian troops pulled out of Lebanon today, ending a brutal 29-year occupation. The last Syrian soldiers crossed the border flashing victory signs. At a farewell ceremony, a Syrian commander told Lebanese troops: "Brothers-in-arms, goodbye!" The soldiers responded, "Goodbye!" Street protests and heavy international pressure after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri forced the pullout. Syria was widely blamed for the assassination. The Syrian withdrawal was a surprise to Israeli observers, who thought that Syria would find a way to remain in Lebanon. Analysts say it’s a sign that Syrian President Bashar Assad is weak and unable to fill the shoes of his late father Hafez Assad. At the same, analysts expect Syria to continue to support and arm the Islamic terrorist group Hizbollah that controls South Lebanon and the border with Israel.
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