Former general and interim Prime Minister Michel Aoun returns to Lebanon after 15 years in exile.

Anti-Syrian leader Michel Aoun returned to Lebanon Saturday to the cheers of thousands of his supporters, ending his 15-year exile in France less than two weeks after Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon.

Upon his arrival Aoun visited the grave of assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri .

“A black cloud has oppressed Lebanon for 15 years,” Aoun told reporters.

Late last month Syria ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s courts have removed several legal impediments to Aoun’s return, suspending an arrest warrant against him, dropping several outstanding charges against him

Israeli Knesset Member Ayoob Kara (Likud) said Aoun’s return may pave the way for the return to Lebanon of Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) members in the framework of a general pardon