A Palestinian leader has blamed Syria for the savage fighting for control of the important Palestinian camp of Tel Al-Zaatar on the edge of Beirut, Lebanon.
SV INTERIOR PAN FROM Palestinian posters on wall TO Newsmen
SV Interpreter translating Abu Ayad's speech from Arabic to English (Ayad on left)
INTERPRETER: "He mentioned only one effort, and its relation to the Syrians. He mentioned that recently large tank forces bombed Monteverdi. The ever reached Tel Al-Zaatar. At this point Syrian artillery hit from the rear a bulldozer that was opening up the road from Monteverdi so that we could bring up further forces. This is only one of the efforts to reach Tel Al-Zaatar. Some of them got to within 400 meters, some of them to two kilometres. Suddenly, Syrian artillery opened up to prevent them from reaching Tel Al-Zaatar."
The value of this advance was secrecy -- the opening up of artillery fire against them ... (indistinct) ... what was going on. Other attacks we will leave to the future. Abu Ayad has said what the Syrians want is the capture of Tel Al-Zaatar. And he says to Arab and world public opinion: 'Obviously all men have a limited capacity. The isolationists may take this camp -- but this camp will be a symbol for all the militants in the Arab world. And all our armed forces will get there -- will reach Tel Al-Zaatar and they will rebuild it for the men who died there; the Palestinian and Lebanese militants who died there." He said that the occupation of this camp will wipe the term 'cease-fire' out of our dictionary. This area will become a new Vietnam ... (indistinct) ... dialogue will end. He cannot believe that all Arab states are unable to stop the isolationists from taking Tel Al-Zaatar which for fifteen months has been besieged. He cannot believe this."
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Background: A Palestinian leader has blamed Syria for the savage fighting for control of the important Palestinian camp of Tel Al-Zaatar on the edge of Beirut, Lebanon. The camp has been under siege by right-wing Christian forces. Speaking at a news conference in Beirut, Abu Ayad, Deputy Commander of the Palestinian group Fatah, said the Palestinians could have defended it properly if they had not been preoccupied with Syria's intervention in Lebanon. If the camp fell to right-wing forces, he said, it would become a symbol to Palestinian militants -- whose war would then be with Syria.
SYNOPSIS: Abu Ayad, also known as Salah Khalaf, has been leading Palestinian operations in the Lebanese civil war in the absence of the Palestine Liberation Organisations' leader, Yasser Arafat. An interpreter translated his comments into English.