Syria’s president Bashir al-Assad has reportedly agreed to the presence of European peacekeepers along the border between his country and Lebanon. News of the apparent accord comes from the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who has been in touch by phone over the past few days with Assad.
This would be a big turnaround by Damascus after earlier saying the deployment of UN forces along the border would be a hostile act. Also, yesterday, the UN Secretary General said Syria had promised to deploy a battalion to help patrol its border with Lebanon. Rome is contributing the largest number of troops to the UN force policing the truce between Israel and Hizbollah. The Italian army is expected to take over command of the peacekeepers from France sometime next year.