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LAST SYRIAN TROOPS TO WITHDRAW TODAY

The last Syrian troops will leave Lebanon today, ending their 29-year mission here, a senior Lebanese military officer said.

The announcement came as the largest number of Syrian troops to leave Lebanon in one batch vacated at least 10 positions in the northern part of the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon Saturday night.

Under pouring rain, dozens of trucks carrying hundreds of soldiers and at least 150 armored vehicles towing cannons and rocket launchers were seen heading to the Lebanese-Syrian Masnaa border point, witnesses said.

"Tomorrow everything will be over," the military officer told the Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity.

The withdrawal came as Syria yields to fierce international and domestic pressure after the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which Lebanese opposition parties blamed on Syria and Lebanon's pro-Syrian government. Both parties denied any involvement.

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