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Sponsoring Terrorism: Syria and the PFLP-GC
Middle East Intelligence Bulletin ^ | September 2002 | Gary C. Gambill

Posted on 09/08/2002 2:51:29 PM PDT by knighthawk

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) continues to occupy a special place in the pantheon of Syrian terror surrogates. Of all the major Palestinian and Lebanese paramilitary groups sponsored by Damascus, the PFLP-GC exercises the least strategic and operational autonomy. While the perks of this servitude are considerable (it is the only group to have received tanks from the Syrian government), so too are the limitations (its lack of independence has precluded the growth of a strong popular following).

Despite its relatively weak presence in the West Bank and Gaza, the PFLP-GC has played a vital role in perpetuating the second Palestinian intifada by smuggling arms and explosives from Syria and Lebanon to Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in the territories.

Current PFLP-GC Assets in Syria and Syrian-occupied Lebanon

The PFLP-GC, believed to have between 500 and 1,000 members, maintains offices in Damascus and the Yarmouk refugee camp outside the Syrian capital, as well as several major military bases around the country. Although journalists are frequently invited to the group's offices in Damascus, the exact locations of its training camps are cloaked in secrecy. In March 1989, two American diplomats who tried to photograph one of its bases (about 25 miles outside of Damascus) were abducted by PFLP-GC gunmen and held for over eight hours.1

The group also has an extensive political and military presence in Lebanon. Its headquarters are located in the Bourj al-Barajnah Palestinian refugee camp in the southern suburbs of Beirut and it maintains a modest armed presence in several other camps - particularly Al-Baddawi in north Lebanon, where Syria's military and intelligence presence is strong.

Unlike other Palestinian groups in Lebanon, the PFLP-GC has extensive military assets outside of the camps. Its largest base is located 9 miles (15 km) south of Beirut in the hills overlooking the coastal villages of Naameh and Damour, about 500 meters from the main coastal highway. The camp includes a fortified concrete underground arms depot built into the side of a mountain, a hospital and a welfare services center.

The group's second main base is located near the village of Sultan Yacoub in the eastern Beqaa Valley, about a mile or two from the Syrian border. Syrian-manned SA-2 and SA-6 surface-to-air missile batteries have long been positioned around its perimeter to deter Israeli air strikes (whereas the Israeli air force has bombed PFLP-GC bunkers south of Beirut dozens of times over the last decade, it abstained entirely from attacks on this base between 1990 and 1995 and hit it only a handful of times since).

(Excerpt) Read more at meib.org ...


TOPICS: Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: damascus; iran; israel; lebanon; pflpgc; syria; terrorism

1 posted on 09/08/2002 2:51:29 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: dennisw; TopQuark; Alouette; OKCSubmariner; veronica; weikel; EU=4th Reich; BrooklynGOP; ...
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) continues to occupy a special place in the pantheon of Syrian terror surrogates. Of all the major Palestinian and Lebanese paramilitary groups sponsored by Damascus, the PFLP-GC exercises the least strategic and operational autonomy.

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2 posted on 09/08/2002 2:52:37 PM PDT by knighthawk
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