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Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia

The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) is a largely defunct terrorist group. It also operated under the names The Orly Group and the 3rd October Organization.

Founded by Agop Tarakciyan and Hagop Hagopian and led by Hagopian. The Marxist-Leninist group formed in 1975. Its aim was to force the Turkish government to acknowledge its role in the Armenian genocide of 1915, compensate the survivors or their families and cede territory in the north of the country for an autonomous Armenian state to be unified with the existing Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The group's activities began with bombing and assassination attacks on Turkish targets. The first bombing was an attack on the World Council of Churches (WCC) office in Beirut. Their first acknowledged killing was the assassination of the Turkish diplomat, Oktay Cerit, in Paris on October 24, 1975 (?). The group's eight point manifesto was published in 1981.

The group's most destructive attack was on August 7, 1982 when nine people were killed and seventy wounded in an bombing at Ankara airport. Another bombing on July 15, [1983]] at Orly Airport killed eight and wounded over fifty. The attack precipitated a split in the group over terrorist tactics between the militant Nationalists and the 'Popular Movement' (ASALA-MR, Revolutionary Movement).

The group received aid from Syria and Libya in the 1980s and possibly the Soviet Union. It had links to the PLO, PFLP and PFLP-GC. With the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 the group lost much of its organization and support. Transferred to Syria, it found itself distanced from the PLO, and it is reported that tensions between the two became such that the PLO passed materials to the French intelligence services in 1983, detailing Asala operatives.

Hagop Hagopian was assassinated in his Athens home on April 25, 1988 (Tarakciyan died of cancer in 1980) and the group fell into inactivity and internal schisms, associating more closely with the PKK.

Compare to the Armenian Revolutionary Army, Justice Commandos for the Armenian Genocide.