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Conflict Incident Report

Estimate of magnitude of displacement in Two-Year War

Associated Timeline/Case: 
The Two-Year War | February, 1975 to December, 1976
Date of incident: 
April 13, 1975 to November 19, 1976
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Arab Deterrent Force (ADF)

On October 21, 1976, an Arab summit (involving Syria, the PLO, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait) announced a new ceasefire and created the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF). In principle, this was to be placed under President Sarkis’s command. This decision, which became known as the Riyadh Accord, was ratified by the Arab League on October 25–26, 1976, during a meeting in Cairo. The ADF, made up of 30,000 men, was primarily composed of Syrian soldiers (25,000), and also had Saudi, Emirati, Sudanese, Libyan, and North and South Yemeni soldiers. The units deployed in all areas across Lebanon, with the exception of the south.
The ceasefire went into effect on November 15, 1976, in Beirut and on November 21 in Saida and Tripoli. The ADF took up its positions in Beirut on November 15.
Between November 15 and 19, 1976, the ADF occupied the headquarters of seven newspapers in West Beirut.
The Two-Year War officially ended at this point, and an uneasy quiet settled over Beirut and most of the country. On December 8, 1976, a new government headed by Salim El-Hoss was formed. The past two years had scarred the country deeply. The massacres and forced displacements that took place had created sectarian-based homogeneous cantons, transforming the country’s demographics in a permanent manner. For instance, between 1975 and 1976, approximately 100,000 Christians and around 5,000 Druze from the Baabda district had fled the mixed Druze-Christian region of the Mountain. Approximately 50,000 Christians left the regions of Zahleh and Baalbeck, including 20,000 who left permanently. Between March and November 1976, up to 800,000 Lebanese went into exile, some temporarily and others not.
While this shaky truce gave some breathing space to most of the country’s residents, in South Lebanon the climate kept deteriorating as PLO fighters gradually returned to the area.