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Alleged Terrorists Lying Low in Syria
Their offices are closed, their mobile phones are off and they're hard to find in Damascus. Yet the Palestinian militants Syria has harbored continue to cast a shadow over relations with America and fuel tension with Israel. Since Secretary of State Colin Powell asked President Bashar Assad in May to close the offices of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine and other groups branded by Washington as terrorist, the militants have gone underground.
Not too far, though...
They have put a stop to rallies and fiery speeches to fellow Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk, a low-income area five miles south of Damascus where about 150,000 Palestinian refugees live. But they are still around, often traveling to neighboring Lebanon, where Damascus wields influence, to give statements or interviews to the Arab media. Maher Taher, the top leader in Damascus of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine, said Saturday by telephone from Lebanon that the Palestinians are keen on preventing further pressure on Syria by lying low. "We shouldn't give Israel and America pretexts on the issue of Syria," he said.
The Syrians didn't like that raid, did they?
On Saturday, Hamas vowed to avenge Israel's killing of Hamas militants and its incursions in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The statement was faxed to The Associated Press office in Lebanon.
One Western diplomat in Damascus described the changes in the Palestinian presence in Syria as cosmetic. The groups remain operational in Damascus, he told the AP. He said the United States wants the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders expelled, not sent to Lebanon.
Posted by:Fred Pruitt

Posted by: B   2003-10-20 5:30:21 PM  

#2  Marge, if anyone calls on line one for Hamas, tell them that we're not here anymore. If they call on line two, we are still taking deliveries. Don't get mixed up again. Also keep the lights off and don't answer the front door.
Posted by: Super Hose   2003-10-20 1:05:28 PM  

#1  ready...aim...
Posted by: B   2003-10-20 12:30:05 PM