Khaddam offered his nation’s help in installing SAM-6 ground-to-air missiles in and around Beirut

publisher: UPI

Publishing date: 1981-07-29

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The Syrian foreign minister offered his nation’s help in installing SAM-6 ground-to-air missiles in and around Beirut to protect against possible Israeli attacks, the pro-Syrian Beirut daily Al Sharq reported Thursday.

In explaining the Syrian position to a delegation of Lebanon’s leftist National Movement in Damascus, Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam said there were Arab countries who were ready to contribute money to purchase the Soviet-made missile batteries and ‘Damascus would appreciate such a step.’

‘Syria did not possess sufficient quantitiy of missiles for stationing in Beirut, but would welcome any weapons which may be sent to Lebanon via Syria for the purpose of defense of the Lebanese and the Palestinians,’ the newspaper quoted Khaddam as telling the delegation.

Syria’s installation of such missiles in south Lebanon, in terrritory it controls, percipitated the present crisis in the Middle East.

He denied that the Soviet Union had vetoed such a move, saying, ‘Syria never said that the Soviet disapproved of the deployment of the missiles. This is a Syrian decision and it is in our hands.

The newspaper said the request for the missiles came from the National Movement after the Israeli air raid against a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut July 17, in which 300 people reportedly died.

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