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State­Sponsored Terrorism - Syria

There is no evidence that Syrian officials have been directly involved in planning or executing international terrorist attacks since 1986. Nevertheless, Syria continues to provide safehaven and support for several groups that engage in such attacks. Though Damascus has stated its commitment to the peace process, it has not acted to stop anti­Israeli attacks by Hezbollah and Palestinian rejectionist groups in southern Lebanon. Syria also permits the resupply of arms for rejectionist groups operating in Lebanon via Damascus. On the positive side, Syria took action to prevent specific terrorist acts, continued to restrain the international activities of some terrorist groups in Syria, and has been a member of the Israel­Lebanon Monitoring Group­established by the 12 April 1996 Understanding­helping to enforce its provisions. After King Hussein of Jordan raised the issue of individuals infiltrating into Jordan from Syria with plans to attack Jordanian and Israeli targets, Damascus conducted an arrest campaign against the infiltrators' backers.

Several radical terrorist groups maintain training camps or other facilities on Syrian territory. Ahmed Jibril's PFLP­GC and the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), for example, have their headquarters near Damascus. In addition, Damascus grants basing privileges or refuge to a wide variety of groups engaged in terrorism in areas of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley under Syrian control. These include HAMAS, the PFLP­GC, the PIJ, and the Japanese Red Army (JRA). The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) continues to train in Syria­controlled areas of Lebanon, and its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, resides at least part­time in Syria. In 1996 the PKK executed numerous terrorist attacks across Europe and continued­with limited success­its violent campaign against Turkish tourist spots.

Syria also suffered from several terrorist attacks in 1996, including a string of unresolved bombings in major Syrian cities.

Patterns of Global Terrorism 1996U.S. State Department