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Hamas delegation to visit Syria later this month to restore relations with Syrian government

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, Palestinian women, one holding a picture of Hamas movement chief Ismail Haniyeh, attend a mass rally marking the anniversary of the founding of Hamas in Gaza city. (Photo by AP)

A delegation of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement will visit Syria later this month to restore relations with the Syrian government after more than a decade of estrangement.

A senior Hamas official said on Thursday that the visit would take place after delegates from the Gaza-based group conclude an October 10 trip to Algeria to discuss reconciliation with the rival Fatah movement, which is chaired by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

A second source, a Palestinian official familiar with the matter, confirmed details of the Syria trip.

The new comes as the Hamas leadership announced last month that it was restoring ties with the Damascus government.

In an official statement condemning repeated Israeli airstrikes against various areas in Syria at the time, Hamas said they appreciated “the Syrian leadership and people for supporting the Palestinian people and their just cause.”

“Hamas confirms that it goes ahead with its decision to restore ties with the Syrian Arab Republic to serve the interest of the Arab and Muslim Ummah, above all the Palestinian cause, especially in light of the escalating regional and international developments concerning the Palestinian cause,” the statement read.

“We look forward to the day when Syria restores its leading position in the Arab and Muslim Ummah. Hamas supports all sincere efforts aimed at restorations of peace, stability and prosperity in Syria,” it noted.

Relations between Hamas and the Syrian government were downgraded in 2011 following the outbreak of foreign-sponsored conflict in the Arab country.

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement vacated its headquarters in Damascus the following year, and moved it to the Qatari capital city of Doha.

Back in June, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the Hamas political bureau and the deputy chief in the Gaza Strip, confirmed to the Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper that a decision had been taken to “restore the relationship with Damascus” after “an internal and external discussion” involving leaders, cadres, influencers, “and even detainees inside Israeli prisons.”

Hayya said “the circumstances, timing and form were discussed” and “a plan was drawn up that will be implemented with the help of allies.”

The senior Hamas official added that “there is a trend towards the broader environment, which includes stakeholders, thinkers and scholars, and then the broader popular frameworks”

He said that they had also raised the issue with Turkey and Qatar, two major Hamas sponsors, and neither had opposed the move.

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