According to two different sources in the region, Assad continues training extremist Islamists in anticipation of using them against European hostages for demands Assad is anticipating. Whether those demands deal with the International Tribunal, which is currently investigating the murder of businessman Rafk Hariri or not, the source did not confirm.

In preparation for its continued training of al-Qaeda elements, the Syrian government has recently propagandized the capture of four people in Lebanon suspected to be members of al-Qaeda.

The trainees arrive in Lebanon from different Arab countries, then enter Syria from southeast Lebanon via villages along the border facing south of Zabdani between Route 7 and the Lebanese borders. This area, north of Quneitra, is easily accessible to Damascus yet remote enough for such operations. The sources had no information of where these elements were being trained inside Syria.

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