Lebanese Civil War 1977 - 1981


January 3, 1977 A violent explosion shook the district of Accoui in Achrafieh causing 26 dead and 70 injured. Shattered glass fell all over the streets hitting several vehicles. The death toll rose to 50 by the next morning.

February 8, 1977 Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the United Nations, arrived to Beirut. He declared that the United Nations would substantially help Lebanon and that the future of this country was closely linked the comprehensive solution in the Middle East.

February 14, 1977 The ambassador of the United States returned to Lebanon. Intense diplomatic activity was carried on in Beirut. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs started an official visit. The American Secretary of State met, during a visit to the Middle East, with President Sarkis in Beirut reassuring him that the United States supports the independence, unity and territorial integrity of the country. He announced a 50 million dollars aid to Lebanon.

March 10, 1977 The cost of living had substantially increased in Lebanon. Meat, sugar, cheese, oil and chicken tripled since before 1975. Fares varied from a region to another due to the lack of control.  


March 16, 1977 He was leaving in Moukhtara when he and two other passengers were killed. An ambush was set up not far from an Arab Strike Force control post. This assassination aroused a huge wave of disapproval. A call for a strike was immediately issued. The country was in mourning. Chief of the Lebanese left wing, leader of the Druze community, author of several political books, coming from a famous family in the Chouf, Kamal Joumblatt was born in 1917 in Moukhtara

March 19, 1977 An airplane was hijacked between Turkey and Lebanon. The operation began 50 minutes after a Boeing 727 on the Diarbakin-Ankara route took off with 182 passengers aboard and 6 crewmembers. Two hijackers forced the airplane to head towards Beirut where it landed at 4pm. The Lebanese authorities took charge of the situation and began negotiations with the hijackers. Ultimately, the passengers were released and the police arrested the hijackers.

On November 5, 1977 the Saheka forces attacked the village of Aishiyeh killing 41 of its residents and displacing most of the others.

November 9, 1977 Israel launched an assault in the South. An air and sea Israeli bombing of Lebanese towns and Palestinian camps claimed the lives of 110 civilians. The town of Ezzieh was razed.

On March 11, 1978, PLO  made a sea landing in Haifa, Israel, commandeered a bus, and then drove toward Tel Aviv, firing from the windows. By the end of the day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had killed the nine of PLO, who had murdered thirty-seven Israeli civilians.


In March1978, Israel attacked PLO positions in south Lebanon in retaliation for the killing of more than thirty bus passengers in a raid by PLO guerillas who had come ashore in boats near Tel Aviv. 


On March 15, 1978, 25,000 men backed by the aviation, armored vehicles and artillery invaded, within 2 hours, a tenth of Lebanon and forced Palestinians to withdraw to the North of the Litani. A first estimate reported 700 deaths and 160,000 displaced persons. Refugees rushed to Beirut causing a serious social problem. Air raids bombarded Damour, Ouzaï,and Tyr.

In 1978 was marked by a series of bloody incidents between the Syrians and the Lebanese Forces and at one point Bashir Gemayel was arrested at a Syrian Army check point in Ashrafieh. February 7, 1978 saw a clash take place between the Lebanese Army and the Syrian Army in Fayadieh.

The Syrians then surrounded the Fayadieh and heavily bombarded the barracks, fighting spread to nearby districts and the Ahrar Tigers where drawn into the action against the Syrians, that afternoon syrian shelled Ashrafieh and attack the Ahrar HQ.


The fight spread to all east of Beirut and mount Lebanon. Syrians took high buildings like burj Rizk Ashrafieh and burj El Murr using snipers and heavy weapons at civilians the fight stayed for 90 days.

June 13, 1978 Tuesday: A dramatic event was reported in Zghorta. A Phalangist squad led by Samir Geagea and Elie Hobeika attacked the Village and killing the Bodyguards of Tony Frangieh then 35 of his supporters.  According to his father President Sleiman Frangieh, the Phalangist gunmen forced Tony Frangieh and his young wife Vera to watch the shooting of their infant daughter Jihane, then made him watch the murder of his wife, before killing him.

June 17, 1978: President Sleiman Frangieh declared that no Phalangist member will stay alive in the North of Lebanon. The vendetta caused the death of tens of persons. Phalangist militiamen were forced to flee towards Batroun then Jbeil.

August 10, 1978 While the bombardment of Acharafieh continued, the Arab Strike Force evacuated twelve positions in this district. Christian parties requested the evacuation of the Port and the Karantina and that Saudis and Sudanese soldiers replace the Syrian soldiers.


September 28, 1978 It is the famous ' Black Thursday ' where hundreds of shells hit Achrafieh in a murderous frenzy that did not spare anyone. The Arab Strike Force and the Lebanese Front accused each other of being responsible of this nightmare, while women, children and elderly persons were dying.


December 8, 1978 A serious incident was reported in Jounieh. A Phalangist leader, Elie Hobeika, was arrested at an army checkpoint in Nahr el Kalb. The incident degenerated into fights and the entire region flared up. A helicopter transporting Saudi and Kuwaiti ambassadors and flying over the region was hit by submachine-gun shots. The Saudi ambassador was injured.

December 11, 1978 Dany Chamoun, a military leader of the NLP, was attacked on his way to the AUH, but escaped unharmed.

December 20, 1978 Following a governmental reshuffling, General Victor Khoury became Minister of Defense, replacing Fouad Boutros.

June 4, 1979 Pierre Gemayel, Chief of the Phalange Party, escaped a killing attack in Nahr el Kalb.
The explosion slightly injured his head and killed one person and wounded about 10.



June 21, 1979 Violent combats with heavy armaments opposed the Lebanese army and the Arab Strike Force at the jurd of Akoura killing 7 Lebanese and injuring 19 persons, 13 of which were militiamen.

June 27, 1979 Syrians and Israelis faced each other in the sky of Damour. Four Syrian Migs were shut down. At the Southern border, shelling continued between Progressive Palestinians on one side and the militia of Saad Haddad and Israel on the other.


July 22, 1979 The Israeli aviation bombarded Damour, Naameh, Sarafand and Adloun, making heavy casualties: 18 dead and 70 wounded including women and children.

September 7, 1979 Three commandos hijacked an Alitalia airplane. Their objective was to denounce Kadhafi in front of the international opinion. 141 passengers out of 175 were released at the airport of Rome. The air pirates surrendered to the Iranians the next day.

October 8, 1979 Phalangist armed elements set up a surprise checkpoint in Ainata, the road leading to the Cedars, and took 70 hostages from Zghorta. The Marada retaliated by taking 230 hostages that were released on October 12, following a call launched by Pope John Paul II.


November 1, 1979 Combats between the Amal movement and soldiers from the Arab Strike Force caused 5 dead and 17 wounded.

February 23, 1980 Criminal madness was unleashed in Lebanon. An odious assault was reported in the Sursock district. A car bomb killed 8 persons including Maya, Bechir Gemayel's 20 months old daughter, and injured 20 others. This explosion was aimed at the chief commander of the Lebanese Forces.

February 24, 1980 Assassination of Journalist Selim Lowzi by Syria Working on silencing the criticism of the Syrian invasion of Lebanon, Syria persecuted and assassinated several Lebanese journalists. Journalist Selim Lowzi was kidnapped for nine days, but found dead in the forests of Aramoun, near a checkpoint for the Syrian Special Forces on February 24, 1980. Lowzi was known for his articles opposing the Syrian regime.

March 4, 1980  The mutilated body of Selim Laouzi was found in the forests of Aramoun ten days after his kidnapping.

March 6, 1980 Units from the Arab Strike Force positioned in the Sin el Fil- Dekouaneh-Mekalles region started to gather in order to withdraw towards Jamhour-Aley. The total withdrawal should be executed by Saturday night and the Lebanese army would replace the Syrian soldiers.

March 12, 1980 A car bomb exploded on the Dora-Nahr el Mott boulevard, a few seconds after the passage of Camille Chamouns' convoy.

April 12, 1980 Saad Haddad militiamen attacked UNIFL soldiers. Bombings destroyed two United Nations helicopters in Nakoura.

May 15, 1980 Following artillery duels between the Lebanese Forces and the Syrian National Social Party in the Upper-Metn, an army buffer force deployed in the region.

May 23, 1980 The Northern Lebanese front flared up again. Militiamen from the Marada launched an attack against the Phalangist positions. In the jurd of the Batroun region, five persons were killed and 20 others wounded.

July 4, 1980 Artillery duels and armed confrontations continued between the Phalange Party and the NLP in the regions of Wadi-Chahrour, Betchay, Bsous, Kfarchima, and their surroundings. 16 persons were killed and 20 others wounded. The next day, the Lebanese army took in charge the areas of Wadi-Chahrour, Betchay, Bsous, Kfarchima, Bsaba, and Bleibel in the Southern-Metn, ending the conflict between the Phalange Party and the NLP in the region.


August 24, 1980 5 persons were killed and 35 others wounded by a car bomb explosion in front of a coffee shop in Reyfoun.

November 7, 1980 An agreement was reached between Camille Chamoun and Pierre Gemayel to unify the Lebanese Forces.

November 10, 1980 A double assault spread terror in Achrafieh. Two car bombs stuffed with 140 kg of TNT exploded and killed 10 persons and injured 70 others. The first explosion occurred at a busy hour, when school busses were taking students back home, in one of Achrafieh’s streets. The second car blew up twenty minutes later, on Elias Baaklini street, next to the Shell gas station. The second explosion was aiming to kill those who would rush on the street after the first one went off.



December 21, 1980 The situation worsened in Zahleh under heavy bombardments. These confrontations between Zahliotes and soldiers from the Arab Strike Force continued until December 26 when a cease-fire eased the tension.

December 31, 1980 A Syrian-Israeli air fight took place in the Lebanese sky. Damascus admitted that its two Migs were hit and that two Israeli airplanes were shot down. Tel-Aviv denied this information.

January 9, 1981 A new phase of the war started in Lebanon: the war of televisions. The 'Lebanese Forces' wanted to broadcast under the name 'Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation' and the Mourabitun seemed to be willing to give them hard time. As a result, they both emitted on the same channel and thus jammed the image.

January 29, 1981 The Israeli aviation bombarded Saida and Nabatyeh for two days. An artillery duel opposed the 'Common Forces' to the militiamen of Saad Haddad. These Israeli bombardments killed 14 and injured 30 others.

March 1, 1981 The city of Saida went through a day of fear and anguish after four bombs fell in its busiest streets, and especially after Saad Haddad threatened to bomb the city. The next day, the fighting spread to Southern Lebanon.

March 28, 1981 After Sodeco and Berjaoui, the confrontations spread to the Museum sector. The Syrians imposed a cease-fire and tried to compel militiamen to withdraw from Ras El Nabeh.

On April 3, 1981, Thousands of Syrian troops and hundreds of their allies mounted a full-scale attack against the city of  Zahle (Largest city in East Lebanon) in an attempt to control it. The city was under siege for four month till if fell to the Syrians. Hundreds of civilians casualties resulted while tens were abducted after the city was captured. Many of the Red Cross where Killed.

The Palestinians, too, had participated actively in the Zahlé shelling. The Palestinian military commander was Ahmad Ismail.

April 12, 1981 Following several days of violent confrontations with the Phalange militia, the Arab Strike Force completed its occupation of the most strategic hills of Zahleh. The supply channels between the capital of the Bekaa and Mount Lebanon were closed.

May 12, 1981 SAM missiles were launched against Israeli spy airplanes.

May 16, 1981 Washington advocated a fast resolution of the missile crisis to avoid a worsening of the situation. Beirut was hit by one bomb from the Syrians every three seconds. Twenty-seven persons were evacuated from Zahleh during a lull period.

May 17, 1981 Words were no longer enough to describe the horror of the war. How to describe the endless artillery duels, the depression of civilians buried in shelters, the magnitude of destructions? The guns didn't stop for 9 continuous hours on both sides of the dividing lines; 25 persons were killed and 118 wounded. What was at stake in this endless battle of Beirut?


June 30, 1981 95 militiamen from the Lebanese Forces were evacuated from Zahleh with their individual weapons after having surrendered their heavy weapons to the Arab Strike Force and to the Internal Security Forces. An Internal Security Forces unit was positioned in the neighborhoods of Zahleh.


July 16, 1981 Within a few hours, the Israeli aviation destroyed 9 bridges in Southern Lebanon cutting off the supply roads of the Palestinian forces. 32 persons were killed and 97 were injured in just one day.

July 17, 1981 Tel Aviv launched the bloodiest attack against Lebanon. Israel bombarded the central district in Beirut, the headquarters of the Fateh, of the Democratic Palestinian Liberation Front and of the Popular Palestinian Liberation Front, killing 141 and injuring 730. This was the first time that Israel targeted the heart of a residential area in Beirut.

August 17, 1981 20 persons were killed and 100 injured in the confrontations between the Amal movement and the Lebanese Communist Party in Chyah.

Bashir Gemayel decorates 91 of the Sadem special Forces on their return from the battle of  Zahle, 1981.


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