INTRODUCTION: Syria has carried out more military manoeuvres, continuing a policy of projecting itself to the world as the only Arab state taking a positive stand against Israel.
GV Tanks in distance in desert.
SV Syrian army officers watching.
SVs & CU Heavy tanks driving across desert. (3 SHOTS)
SV PAN & LV Armoured personnel carrier and tanks at speed across desert. (4 SHOTS)
SV Army officers watch as helicopters pass low. (3 SHOTS)
LV & GV Jet fighter bombers swoop and bomb targets. (4 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Syria has carried out more military manoeuvres, continuing a policy of projecting itself to the world as the only Arab state taking a positive stand against Israel. The exercises were staged against a Middle East background of the recent Israeli bombing in Iraq of a nuclear reactor complex on the outskirts of Baghdad.
SYNOPSIS: Syria's television showed these exercises for 15 minutes on the night of Sunday, June the 14th, apparently to bolster national morale. The Damascus administration, much practised in the art of demonstrating its defiance of Israel, is however, still substantially isolated in the Arab world. In many respects, Syria stands even further outside the cracks in Arab unity which first began to show at the Amman Summit last November.
Syria steadfastly has been refusing to remove the surface to air missiles (SAMS) from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. And the showing of these exercises on television coincided with renewed warnings in Tel Aviv from Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, backed up by opposition leader Shimon Peres, that Israel reserved the right to use force if diplomacy fails to get the missiles withdrawn.
On Thursday (18 June), Israeli military intelligence said the chances of Syria voluntarily withdrawing the missiles from Lebanon were zero. In Damascus, the government newspaper, Tishrin said that in future Syria would regard any Israeli aggression on Lebanon and on the Syrian forces there as a direct attack by the United States.
The fact remains that while Syria is in no position to go to war, its determination not to give in to American blandishments over the missiles has been increased. United States envoy Philip Habib has so far been unsuccessful in resolving the stalemate, and Syria is preparing for the time when Israel decides his initiative finally has lost all impetus.