Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s President from 1971 to 2000, provided strategic support to the PKK to enhance his leverage over Ankara. Syria became the hub of PKK activities in the 1980s. Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK chief, lived in Syria from 1979 until 1998. The PKK’s founding conference was held in Syria in 1991. The PKK formalized its armed struggle at a meeting in Syria in 1992, and moved its headquarters from Lebanon’s Beka’a Valley to Syria later that year.