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Arafat accuses Syrians of aiding PLO rebels

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sent urgent messages to Arab and other national leaders Tuesday, accusing Syrian troops and tanks of joining anti-Arafat rebels in a battle that routed his men in eastern Lebanon Monday night.

The Palestinian news agency Wafa said Mr. Arafat, now in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, called for international support and sent a special message to Syrian President Hafez Assad about the "serious change of stand" of Syria's forces in Lebanon.

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Breakaways from Arafat's Al-Fatah -- the largest group in the Palestine Liberation Organization -- said in Damascus they had captured eight loyalist positions and control of the key Beirut-Damascus highway in the fighting.