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December 21, 2016
Document Release Date: 
June 10, 2008
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November 4, 1983
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Approved For Release 2008/06/10: CIA-RDP88B00443RO01404100136-5 THE NEW YORK TIMES - 4 November 1983 Salvador Rebels -A-4-ake Gains And U.S. Advisers Are Glum. SAN SALVADOR, Nov. 3 - Leftist insurgents have taken the initiative in the tour-year-old civil war. killing more than 800 Salvadoran soldiers in the last two monthspt 40D greatly extending and con- tested zone, according to United States military advisers here. The advisers said that since the sum- mer, when they ed a lull in fighting as a sign that the army had im- proved its fighting ability, the guerril- las had launched attacks against more than 60 towns from central El Salvador to the Honduran border. By LYD1A CHAVEZ Sf14mT1,N&wywkT1mr dives are making one hell of a chal- lenge? of whom say The advisers, many 81re discouraged and anxious to The problem was complicated when two companies sent wto reinforce the ere ambushed troops in Tejutepeque on the way. A simillar sitution evolved on Mon- day in Ciudad Barrios, a town of 20,000 in the eastern province of San Miquel. The town was defended by some 80 na- tional guardsmen, and unwittihours ngly after the allack ttack began headedtoWard guerrilla territory. "It doesn't look like there was much effort to keep the place," another mili- tary?advisersaid. ' Reladorcemems Purred Down Two companies sent to reinforce the national guardsmen were pinned down by an ambush less than a mile from from their starting point- The compa- re- nies were from six weeks of cently returned from training at the new American-staffed training base in Honduras. Military advisers are further wor- ried because the guerrillas are slowly encroaching on San Vicente, which has been billed as the make-it-or-break-it example of what the Salvadoran mih- tary is capable of doing. The San Vicente prog~la~ by American military designed to show that the army could and then rid a province Of guerrillas the Gov- ernment the population hile ernment undertook redevelopment programs- improve- There of have been signs ment in San Vicente since the plan began in June, but already two towns have been attacked and many of guerrillas who left before the offensive began have returned. finish their assignments here, have ex- pressed discouragement with' the army's inability to overcome its com- mand problems and with setbacks to an operation in San Vicente planned and monitored by the Americans- uerrillas have the initiative 4. t` e g now, m one can question that," one ad- k his head viser said. Another just shoo in agreement when asked it he would recommend that the United States pur- sue a political solution more diligently. since September, they said, has affected nine of the country's In the past, military advisers critr sized the army's 24,000 men for staying 14 provinces. in their barracks and not patrolling the ? Army's Problems Persist countryside. Now the complaint is that while they are in the field, they are The advisers added that the incur- dying in one place and not pursuing gents often met little resistance from the 7,000 guerrillas or setting ambu- the Salvadoran Army. The army. they sties. said, seemed to be struggling with the The army's tactical deficiencies same problems that have plagued it have been aggravated by political ten-, = over the last four years: low morale, lions within the high command. Ameri weak logistical support and divisions can Embassy officials were hoping this among its commanders. week for coanges that would eliminate Some troops have fled their positions some of the ineffective field and staff without putting up a fight, the advisers commanders as well as some men con. said. As a result, the advisers are now nested with death squad activities. painting a gluey picture of the scum- But the only changes in orders issuer try's military situation. Tuesday were insignificant ones at the They said guerrilla gains had in ef- u nior officer level. Perhaps most demoralizing to Salva- test opened a northern corridor from junior central El Salvador to the east. Before loran Army officers and American ad. September, guerrilla forces had to take visers has been two recent battles in a roundabout route from their bases in which army showce willinganess, to lot up the central province of Cuseatldn to sending reinforce- Morazdn province in the east. Now they and had difficulty ' can move virtually unimpeded straight meats. Sunday* the guerrillas. attacked across northern El Salvador. Tejuut pe . a town of g,000 people The f uierrlilas More Mob11e some 37, miles north of by the 180 capitaL soldiers. Moreover, military advisers said, town as red to the nearby town the guerrillas are more unified, have o obe.w and changed into civilian better intelligence and are much more clothes, according to military advisers* mobile than they were before the sum- "A 180-man unit in a defense position mer, moving in daylight by trucks should be able to hold out if they have rather than at night on foot. their positions and stay and fight,.' one ..They sure are conducting them- adviser said. selves in a very effective manner' one American adviser. said. "The subver- Approved For Release 2008/06/10: CIA-RDP88B00443RO01404100136-5