The Palestinian Hamas Movement has decided to restore ties with Syria more than ten years after its leadership left Damascus, the Reuters news agency reported on June 21.
Hamas declared its support for the Syrian opposition and closed its offices in Damascus early on in the Syrian crisis. Later, Damascus accused the Islamic organization of providing support to the rebels in different parts of the country, especially in Palestinian refugee camps.
Despite this history, an official in Hamas told Reuters that the two sides have held several “high-profile meetings” to restore relations. The unnamed official didn’t provide any additional details on the matter.
Reuters’ report was confirmed on June 22 by Al-Akhbar. The Lebanese newspaper said that both Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been making efforts to restore relations between Hamas and Syria. Sources informed on the matter told Al-Akhbar that Hamas leadership, which is currently visiting Lebanon, won’t be heading to Syria any time soon. However, an agreement between Hamas and Syria may be close.
Hamas is considered the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated by Syria as a terrorist organization. President Bashar al-Assad slammed Hamas over its links to the organization in the past.
Hamas’ decision to restore relations with Syria despite the stark differences is likely meant to strengthen its stand against Israel.
Before the outbreak of the war in Syria, Hamas received massive financial and military support from the country. The two sides also coordinated against Israel, as they are both considered key members of the so-called Axis of Resistance.
Israel will likely view any rapprochement between Hamas and Syria as a threat. Tel Aviv could go as far as targeting any future presence of the organization in Syria.