At a checkpoint in the Bekaa Valley, 150 trucks carrying Syrian troops and military equipment, including tanks and rocket launchers, were heading for the border.

There were also reports of Syrian troops burning documents and dismantling military posts.

Security sources told Reuters Syria’s military will complete its withdrawal from eastern Lebanon on Monday, with security chiefs due to leave on Tuesday.

Damascus is racing to pull out of its tiny neighbour in line with a UN Security Council resolution passed in September.

It had promised to be out by April the 30th but Syria now looks set to beat its deadline a few days ahead of schedule.

Damascus, whose forces entered Lebanon early in the 1975-1990 civil war, has dominated Lebanon since the war ended.

It has been under intense international pressure to withdraw since the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Many Lebanese and opposition politicians believe Syria was behind the car bombing on February 14 and that the country’s security forces were somehow involved.

The UN is investigating the circumstances surrounding the former Lebanese leader’s death.

Syria had around 14,000 troops in Lebanon around the time of the attack.

Lebanon’s foreign ministry says a UN military team is expected to arrive in Lebanon on Monday to verify the Syrian withdrawal.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said last week he was delaying until Tuesday the release of a report to the Security Council on Syria in Lebanon so that the full withdrawal could be confirmed.

The speedy withdrawal coupled with last week’s formation of a new Lebanese government after weeks of political stalemate, raised expectations that parliamentary elections will be held on time next month.