A Letter From The Publisher: Dec. 19, 1983

TIME Beirut Correspondent Roberto Suro covers not one but two of the toughest news beats in the world: embattled Lebanon and the police state of Syria. For this week's cover stories on the continuing violence in Lebanon and on Syrian President Hafez As sad and his country's pivotal role in the tur bulent Middle East, Suro confronted the difficulties of reporting from both countries.

Having visited Syria more than a dozen times during his two years as a correspondent in the Middle East, Suro is uncomfortably aware of the probability that he is followed and that his phone and telex communications are...

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