In Syria, 2,000 Palestinians from Beirut staged a demonstration of support for President Hafez Al-Assad on Sunday (12 March) in front of the presidential palace in Damascus.
In Syria, 2,000 Palestinians from Beirut staged a demonstration of support for President Hafez Al-Assad on Sunday (12 March) in front of the presidential palace in Damascus. Their visit was timed to coincide with President Assad's re-election for a second term as Head of State.
SYNOPSIS: The Palestinians said they had come to Damascus to express their gratitude to Syria for its support of the Palestinian cause and for the help that had been extended to Palestinians in Lebanon. Their demonstration came less than 24 hours after the Palestinian Liberation Organisation...the P.L.O.....had claimed responsibility for the guerrilla raid on Israel which left 37 people dead. A statement from the PLO left no doubt that the raid had been a response to what Palestinian leaders see as an effort to exclude the PLO from negotiations to end the Middle East conflict.
President Assad, who acknowledged the demonstration from a palace balcony, reaffirmed his support for the Palestinian cause in speeches during ceremonies marking his re-election. In one major policy speech he said the establishment of an independent Palestinian homeland was the top priority in any move towards a Middle East settlement.
Reuters News Agency quotes him as saying Palestinian rights were even more important than the recovery of Syrian territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war.
Before the demonstration ended, President Assad invited a deputation from the crowd to join him in a brief discussion. Its reported the President re-affirmed Syria's continuing support for the Palestinian cause.