BEIRUT, AUG. 18 (TUESDAY) -- American free-lance writer and journalist Charles Glass escaped early today after two months in captivity, according to security sources quoted by the Christian Voice of Lebanon radio.

The radio said the 37-year-old Californian, kidnaped in the southern suburbs of this Lebanese capital June 17, arrived at the Summerland Hotel at 2:30 a.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Monday) in a taxi. The luxurious summer resort is at the border of the southern slums where pro-Iranian fundamentalist groups are based.

"Special Syrian units came to the hotel and escorted Glass to an unknown destination," the radio reported. Receptionists at the hotel blocked telephone calls.

{The Associated Press reported police confirmed that Glass was in Syrian hands. A police spokesman said that Glass, barefoot and wearing a blue track suit, walked into the hotel and told the receptionist: "I am Charlie Glass. I need a place to hide. I want a force to protect me."

{"My captors were asleep. I slipped through the window and climbed down the staircase to freedom," the spokesman quoted Glass as telling the receptionist.

{Glass was pronounced fit by a doctor who examined him while awaiting Syrian troops.}

Glass was the first foreigner seized in Lebanon since the Syrians moved 7,500 troops into West Beirut on Feb. 22 to curb feuding among militias. His capture, within a few yards from a Syrian checkpoint, angered Syrian military authorities in Lebanon and they made it known that they were determined to see Glass freed.

The kidnaping also strained Syrian-Iranian relations over who dominates the Lebanese scene, and it was interpreted by Damasus as a challenge to its authority in Lebanon.

On July 1, the pro-Iranian Organization for Defense of Free People said it had abducted Glass. A video cassette showing the journalist was distributed on July 7.

The tape showed Glass, reading haltingly and under obvious strain from a prepared statement, saying he had come to Lebanon using his career as cover to spy for the CIA.

The kidnaping coincided with heightened tension between Washington and Tehran over freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf. Glass was the only American journalist in Beirut at the time.

Glass was grabbed by three carloads of gunmen who intercepted his car while driving back to Beirut from the Sidon area with Ali Osseiran, the son of Lebanon's Shiite Moslem defense minister and their driver. Osseiran was freed a week later.

Earlier Glass had worked for ABC-TV in Beirut but was researching a book when captured.

{In Washington, ABC-TV said Glass had either escaped or been freed. It said Glass walked into the hotel and "was seen and spoken to by a staff member of the ABC bureau in Beirut.}

Witnesses working in the Summerland parking lot said Syrian troops arrived half an hour later.

Eight other Americans and 13 other foreigners are listed as having been seized in Lebanon since 1985 and are assumed still held.