Zahle, the biggest Christian town in the East, confronted one of the biggest battles – both military and political – between the Lebanese Forces and the Syrian occupying forces. The Lebanese Forces was able to confront them even though there was a big mismatch in military capabilities and was able to reverse the result of the battle of 1981. This victory was due to the bravery of the inhabitants and 92 Lebanese Forces soldiers (L.F Special Forces: The Maghaweer) sent from Beirut.
The Syrian occupying forces used all kind of weapons (heavy artillery, tanks, war planes…) against a peaceful town, and they cut all kind of backup that may come from the Mountain.
Regardless of the very bad weather and heavy bombing, convoys were sent in the snow to Zahle. Two Lebanese Forces soldiers died on a hill due to bad weather, they were found later holding each other… till they died.
The battle of Zahle gave the Lebanese Cause a new perspective in the International Communities, and the victory was both military and diplomatic.
It made the Leadership of President Bashir Gemayel much stronger because of his leadership and important role in this battle.
The battle started in April the 2nd 1981, and finished with a cease fire and Lebanese Police were sent to Zahle. The 92 Lebanese Forces heroes returned to Beirut on the 1st of July 1981.
The casualties were 223 killed and 765 wounded with heavy material losses.