The Palestinian Hamas Movement is working to restore its ties with the Damascus government after strengthen its relations with Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran recently, Al-Monitor reporter on April 3.
Hamas’ leadership declared its support for the Syrian opposition and closed its offices in the Syrian capital in the first months of the Syrian crisis. Damascus also says that the Palestinian group was responsible for training several militant groups throughout Syria, especially in the period from 2011 to 2012.
An Iranian official told Al-Monitor that Iran has been mediating between the Syrian government and Hamas since early 2017. However, the official admitted that Damascus continues to view the Hamas attitude in the early years of the crisis as a stab in the back.
“The Iranian mediation, and Hezbollah’s mediation, have eased Damascus’ stance toward Hamas,” the source, who declined to be named, added.
The new leadership of Hamas, which was elected in May 2017, managed to recover the group’s relations with Iran and Hezbollah and adopted a new stand on the Syrian issue. Last month, the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.
“The Golan will remain an integral part of the Syrian territory … We stand by Syria in the face of the US arrogance that does not abide by international norms, covenants and laws,” Haniyeh said on March 25, according to Al-Monitor.
Ali Baraka, a member of the Hamas’ political and Arab relations bureau, declined to speak about the Iranian and Hezbollah efforts to restore the relations between the group and Damascus. However, he affirmed that there is high-level coordination among the so-called “resistance axis” to counter U.S. actions in the Middle East.
Despite these efforts by Iran and Hezbollah, local observers believe that restoring Hamas ties with Damascus will not be an easy task. Government supporters accuse the Palestinian group of committing multiple war crimes in the early years of the war. This public image of Hamas also impacts negatively any efforts regarding the restoration of ties between the two sides.