Families of Fatah Islam officials allowed to leave Lebanon for Syria
Eleven families of the militant Fatah Islam group left the southern Lebanese city of Sidon Wednesday on their way to Syria following weeks of negotiations to allow them to leave, officials said. The families were among 17 who fled the fighting between the militants and the Lebanese army in the north and sought refugee at the al-Arqam mosque in Sidon. Six families stayed behind in Sidon, including that of Shaker Youssef al-Absi, the movement's fugitive leader, for not having proper documents, an official with the General Security Department said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The families that were able to leave comprised either Syrian mothers and their children or Palestinians living in Syria, said the official who helps oversee border crossings and granting residency permits for foreigners in Lebanon.
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