Efforts by PLO leader Yasser Arafat to quell the mutiny against his policies have been set back by new violence. A top PLO military commander was badly wounded and at least one guerrilla died in bitter fighting between Arafat loyalists and rebels Sunday. Fighting spread to Syria from east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where clashes occurred over the weekend within Arafat's Al Fatah, the largest guerrilla group in the Palestine Liberation Organization.
A rebel spokesman in Damascus said rebel forces seized a main training camp controlled by Arafat's deputy military commander, Kalil Wazir (known as Abu Jihad) in a machine-gun battle. Wazir's assistant, Col. Ezzedin Sharif (known as Abu Ziad), and three aides were critically wounded as they tried to recover control of the camp, PLO sources said.
The mutiny within Arafat's Fatah broke out early in May. Left-wing dissidents had accused Arafat of abandoning armed struggle with Israel and getting too involved in US Middle East peace diplomacy. State-run Beirut radio quoted a PLO spokesman as saying a session of Fatah's revolutionary council planned for Sunday in Tripoli, north Lebanon, had been postponed indefinitely because of the violence.
The fighting in Syria followed a battle between the factions in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley that went on until early Sunday, when a precarious cease-fire went into effect. A rebel statement in Damascus said Arafat loyalists had launched a heavy attack on the ''September Martyrs Regiment,'' which declared its support for the rebels last Friday.