TEL AVIV (Apr. 19)
Terrorist groups domiciled in Lebanon may shift their headquarters to Damascus, reliable sources said here today. They said the likely move would be a direct result of Israel’s April 10 commando raids on terrorist headquarters and installations in Beirut and Sidon in which three top terrorist leaders were slain. The raid convinced the terrorists that Beirut provides no shelter for them and is not a site conducive to maintaining the necessary cloak of secrecy over underground organizations, the sources said.
They said the move to Syria would involve the headquarters of El Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front, all of which have been operating out of Beirut. The shift would locate the terrorist HQ further away from Israel and would deprive future Israeli commando raiders of the advantage of sea-borne landings since Damascus is an inland city.
On the other hand, the sources said, a move to Syria might place the terrorists under stricter control by their host country. While Syria supports the terrorists, it has insisted in the past on control of all terrorist activities and terrorist groups headquartered in Damascus would probably find themselves under a tighter rein than was the case in Lebanon.