A decade after breaking relations with Syrian President Bashar Assad and decamping from Damascus, Hamas is in talks to resume ties with Syria, according to a source in the Gaza-ruling group.
“The return of relations was part of discussions that took place for years with Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah,” the Hamas source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Hamas insisted that it was neutral and did not interfere, and gave positive indications to all mediators, and also obtained positive indications from Syria,” the source added.
According to the source, Hamas resuming ties with Damascus is not a matter that hasn’t been discussed before.
Speaking under the conditions of anonymity, the source added that the decision has been made over 10 months ago.
The decision was taken considering the many shifts that have taken place, especially a change of leadership within Hamas itself, the source explained.
The source’s remarks hint at the rise and domination of the Hamas wing closest to Syria and Iran.
A similar report by Reuters confirmed that Hamas has decided to restore ties with Syria, 10 years after its leadership shunned Damascus over opposition to Assad's crackdown on a revolt against his rule.
The Reuters report is based on two sources within Hamas speaking to the news wire.
One official who asked not to be named said the two sides have held several "high-profile meetings to achieve that goal."
A Syrian official did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Hamas leaders had publicly endorsed the revolt aimed at overthrowing Assad's dynastic rule and left their Damascus headquarters. That angered their common ally, Iran.
Hamas's ties with Iran were later restored and officials of the Palestinian faction praised Tehran for help with building their Gaza arsenal of long-range rockets, which they used in fighting Israel.