In villages where Hizbollah fighters had built up their strongholds, Lebanese troops are now making their presence felt as part of the fragile truce in the region. In the village of Tebnin, not far from the border with Israel, residents appear to have accepted the presence of the Lebanese troops with good humour. But observers say it is an awkward job for the Lebanese soldiers, moving into a region they have not controlled for decades, and where many people see Hizbollah as their best defenders.
The soldiers have taken over the buildings where Hizbollah based themselves during the conflict. At the local council offices, there are mixed feelings about the new arrangement. “The Lebanese army shouldn’t make the Hizbollah leave,” said one Christian councillor. “Hizbollah helps people here. They shouldn’t have to leave.”
In other villages further south, Israel maintains tight surveillance, with Lebanese troops not yet deployed.