- Title: SYRIA: PALESTINIAN FATAH RECRUITS TRAIN FOR OPERATIONS IN WEST BANK AND ISRAEL.
- Date: 14th December 1981
- Summary: GV PLO recruits training to use light mortar (2 shots) SV & CU Soldier with Palestinian head-dress standing guard (2 shots) SV Recruits loading hand-held mortar GV Recruits training on anti-aircraft gun GV ZOOM INTO SV Recruits training with shell SV Hooded recruits GV Instructor laying and priming land-mine (3 shots) LVs Recruits training with light automatic weapons (2 shots) GV PAN Rocket propelled grenades being fired (2 shots) LV Recruits walk away from live firing exercise (2.23) BB
- Embargoed: 29th December 1981 12:00
- Location: MOUNETOUR, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAA0L6080P0P6BZBLIGIZ4EDARX
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: At a military camp near the Syrian capital, Damascus the latest batch of recruits for the Palestinian commando group, Fatah are undergoing training.
SYNOPSIS: When these recruits, training here on light mortars, finish their course they'll become members of the biggest of the eight commando groups, which is controlled by Yasser Arafat.
The Fatah recruits from this camp in the Mounetour region will eventually be sent to carry out operations in Israel or in the occupied West Bank. The training course normally lasts four weeks, and covers most of the weapons and equipment likely to be used in full-scale operations. Most will be hit-and-run sorties -- of the type where commandos using rocket launches mounted on trucks fire a few salvos and then move off to escape Israeli counter shelling.
The laying and priming of land-mines forms another part of training. Most mines are laid as defensive measures, though some are used for road ambushes. The PLO military tactics -- which avoid direct confrontation with better armed and better supported Israeli soldiers -- appear to be paying off. Fattah commanders acknowledge that the Israelis are far better equipped from the United States. But they say high technology still hasn't stopped their hit-and-run attacks. For PLO senior officials the fact that they're able to continue their military activities is of vital importance. After the fighting in Lebanon earlier this year PLO leaders were saying that one of the most important results was that it underlined there could no peace in the Middle East without a solution to the Palestinian problem. That problem is finding a home for the estimated 2.5 million Palestinians who moved abroad after the 1948 establishment of Israel, and the 1.25 million who live in territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. And it is the campaign to gain their own homeland that provides there undergoing military training in this Syrian camp.
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