INTRODUCTION: Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad has revived charges that Jordan is backing subversion inside Syria, saying that hundreds of people have been murdered in bombings and assassinations plotted by the Jordanian regime.
GV Schoolchildren dressed in costume of military band PAN TO Damascus University building
GVs President Hafez Al-Assad with other officials on platform clapping (2 shots)
GV PAN OVER Audience seated
SV President Assad speaking in Arabic from rostrum as audience listen (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad has revived charges that Jordan is backing subversion inside Syria, saying that hundreds of people have been murdered in bombings and assassinations plotted by the Jordanian regime. President Assad made the allegations at a meeting held on Sunday (8 March) to mark the 18th anniversary in power of the ruling Baath Socialist party.
SYNOPSIS: Official celebration on what is now regarded as Syria's national day were held at Damascus University. President Assad and members of his government opened the anniversary meeting inside the university auditorium with a round of applause honouring Syrian independence. President Assad has led the country since he took control in 1970, and was formally elected in the following March. In 1978, he was sworn in for a further seven-year term as President.
In his speech President Assad accused Jordan of supporting the outlawed extremist Moslem Brotherhood, which the Syrian leadership has charged with carrying out an anti-government terrorist campaign. Allegations, denied by Jordan, that it was backing Islamic opposition extremists in Syria led to a major confrontation between the two Arab neighbours last November, when their armies were massed along their common border. That crisis was resolved through Saudi Arabian mediation. Last month the Jordanian Charge d'Affaires in Beirut, Hisham Moheisen, was abducted and is still missing. Jordan said Syria was responsible but this was denied by Damascus. Referring to Jordanian allegations that Syrian agents were sent to Amman recently to assassinate the Jordanian Prime Minister, Mr. Modar Badran, President Assad said if Syria wanted to assassinate anyone it would openly announce its intention to do so. Mr. Assad gave no exact figures for the number of Syrians he claimed had died as a result of Jordanian-inspired subversion. But he warned that Syria was now able to strike back at those responsible. He emphasised that so far Syria had shown responsibility and a sense of restraint towards Jordan, but he said officials in Amman were wrong to think tolerance was limitless.