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Is Syria getting ready to pull out of Lebanon?

Syrian state radio recently broadcast a commentary saying the 30,000-man Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) had been deployed in Lebanon back in 1976 ''at the legal Lebanese officials' request.'' The implication? Lebanese government just might see the ADF leave if only it asks. This is a distinct change of tone from last summer, when Syria refused a request by then-President Sarkis to remove the ADF from Lebanon. The apparent change of heart in Damascus can be attributed to mildly productive dialogue between Lebanese rightists and Syrian President Assad , to progress made by US diplomat Morris Draper, and to the threat of force hinted at by frequent Israeli reconnaissance flights over Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

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But no formal agreement of a Syrian - or Israeli - pullout has yet been drafted.m

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