Hamas to end 10-year feud with Syria, restore relations

After backing anti-Assad rebels and abandoning Damascus headquarters, Hamas looks to restore ties with Syria.

By World Israel News Staff

The Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas has agreed to reestablish ties with the Assad regime in Syria, after a decade-long dispute over the Syrian civil war, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The report, which cited two sources within Hamas, did not specify a reason for the move or its timing. One said that representatives from Hamas and the Syrian government have already held a number of “high-profile meetings to achieve that goal.”

Syrian officials did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Relations between the Syrian government and Hamas have been strained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, after regime forces cracked down on Sunni rebels and protesters.

The split worsened in early 2012, prompting Hamas to openly defy Assad, and endorse Sunni rebels.

In February of that year, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh gave his backing to anti-Assad forces.

“I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform,” Haniyeh said during a visit to Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque.

Later that month, leaders of Hamas’ Syrian branch – including exiled then-chairman of Hamas Khaled Meshaal – abandoned their offices in Damascus, relocating to Egypt and Qatar. In November of 2012, Syrian forces raided Hamas’ former Damascus headquarters.

The tensions between Hamas and the Assad regime also led to a rift between the terror group and Tehran, which continued to back the Syrian leader.

While Iran and Hamas eventually reconciled, the Gaza-based terror organization did not reestablish ties with the Syrian government.

Ten years after Hamas leaders left Damascus, however, the two sides appear poised for a rapprochement.