Celebrations and rallies in Syria at the weekend (16 and 17 November) marked the ninth anniversary of President Hafez al-Assad's development programme -- also called the Corrective Movement.
LV PAN Syrian President Hafez al-Assad arrives by car outside the sports hall in Damascus and is greeted
TV at Assad being greeted
SV Sheep being slaughtered on pavement
SV AND CU INTERIOR al-Assad enters sports stadium and electronic clock. (3 shots)
CU President al-Assad applauds and shakes hand with a visitor
LV Banners on houses in housing development
SV PAN Workers applaud as President al-Assad leaves sports hall and walks towards housing estate.
SV President cementing corner stone inaugurating new housing project, then applause
TV Crowd with banners at Yarmuk camp
CU PAN Muhsen Abu Meizar PLO Spokesman speaking in Arabic TO audience listening
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Background: Celebrations and rallies in Syria at the weekend (16 and 17 November) marked the ninth anniversary of President Hafez al-Assad's development programme -- also called the Corrective Movement. The celebrations were also used to reconfirm Syria's commitment to the cause of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
SYNOPSIS: Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad, celebrated the ninth anniversary of his Presidency -- as well as the start of the Corrective Movement. President Assad was re-elected in 1977 for seven years. He heads a country which economists say has a good chance of being able to pull itself out of under-development. But the continued commitment of Syrian forces in the Lebanon absorbs thirty-seven percent of the national budget.
At the inauguration of a large sports complex in Damascus, celebrations included the traditional rite of sheep slaughtering. President al-Assad was then shown through the new facility which includes all modern features of sporting grounds.
The President's duties included a visit to one of many new housing projects which are built especially to house workers in Damascus. The Syrian capital has grown from a population of 650,000 in 1970 to an estimated two million people today
President al-Assad laid the cornerstone to inaugurate one of the new housing projects. Major development projects continue to flourish with the help of long-term loans from international financial agencies and growth in oil revenues.
At Yarmuk camp, Palestinians marked the day with rallies and speeches. The Damascus government has had a long-standing alliance with the cause of the Palestine Liberation Movement, and the founding of an independent Palestinian homeland.
A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mr Muhsen Abu Meizar, spoke about the alliance between the PLO and Syria and said that President al-Assad had recently pledged continued support to the movement. He also asked Yarmuk Camp residents to continue to fight for "the liberation of their land". He stressed that those not living in occupied lands should try and maintain solidarity with those currently living there. Mr Meizar said he hoped the forthcoming Arab summit in Tunisia would achieve a great deal of progress -- particularly on the Lebanese situation.