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Syrian Troops, Followed by Villagers, Return to Yom Kippur War Enclave

Syrian units took up positions today in the Yom Kippur War enclave evacuated by Israeli forces yesterday. The first Syrian contingents–infantry and engineer corps–appeared early this morning searching for mine fields and other obstacles. Later in the day some Syrian tanks and armored vehicles entered the enclave and took up positions at some distance from the demarcation lines.

The Syrian soldiers were followed by villagers returning to their abandoned homes in Harfa and Hader, towns they had fled during the war last Oct.

As Israeli forces completed their evacuation of the larger part of Syrian territory captured in the Yom Kippur War yesterday, Gen, Raphael Eitan, commander of the northern front warned that “should another war be imposed on us we shall return stronger still.” Columns of Israeli tanks roared past the reviewing stand on a hillside near Tel Shams to take up new positions west of the United Nations buffer zone. At the same time, soldiers of the United Nations Disengagement Observers Force (UNDOF) entered Tel Shams and the UN set up advance headquarters at Khan Arnaba near the new Israeli lines.

The final phase of evacuation is expected to be completed within the next five days. It will find Israeli forces occupying the pre-Yom Kippur War lines, separated from Syrian forces by a UN buffer zone 5-8 kilometers wide.

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