The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
Hamas, Assad Regime in Talks To Mend Ties
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh flashes the victory sign following a speech during his visit to the southern Lebanese city of Saida, June 26, 2022. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)

Hamas, Assad Regime in Talks To Mend Ties

Palestinian movement moving away from support for opposition after Assad victory in civil war

[Gaza City] After a decade of stalemated ties between the Sunni Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and the Alawite-dominated Syrian regime, dialogue aiming to rebuild the relationship has reached an advanced stage, according to leaks by Hamas officials.

“There are indeed serious and continuous steps toward completing the reconciliation with Damascus and turning the page. However, there are orders at the movement’s internal level not to circulate news through the media until further notice,” a high-level Hamas source told The Media Line on condition of anonymity.

The bad blood between parties began following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Hamas maintained a neutral stance on the conflict, followed later by public support for the Syrian opposition, which was considered a betrayal by the Bashar Assad regime.

Before 2011, the Syrian regime extended significant benefits to Hamas that enhanced its political stability, whether through logistical support, military training, or allowing it to move its headquarters to Damascus.

This poses a fundamental question: What made Hamas sacrifice all these advantages and stand up against the Assad regime?

Hamas’ position was not, as it claimed, based on political or civil considerations, related to the right of the Syrian people to freedom … because in its limited experience of rule of Gaza and in its struggle for power with the Fatah movement, Hamas did not show the slightest respect for human rights

Akram Atallah, a Palestinian writer, answered this question, writing in the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam newspaper on Monday.

“Hamas’ position was not, as it claimed, based on political or civil considerations, related to the right of the Syrian people to freedom … because in its limited experience of rule of Gaza and in its struggle for power with the Fatah movement, Hamas did not show the slightest respect for human rights,” he wrote.

Hamas’ abandonment of the Syrian regime, according to Atallah, “related to its ideological interests … as the turmoil in the region seemed to be in the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the capitals seemed to fall one after the other into the hands of the [Muslim Brotherhood] movement, beginning with Tunisia and then Cairo, and Damascus seemed to be on the same road.”

Hamas was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas’ hopes were dashed with the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt, which caused the decline of its popularity in the entire region, and after the Syrian regime managed to recover thanks to the support of its Russian, Hizbullah, and Iranian allies.

Hamas realized that its bet on the fall of the Syrian regime and the domination of the Brotherhood movement was a total failure. It found itself in a position that doesn’t represent the movement’s approach and aspirations. That’s why it decided to reconsider its stance and retract it.

Since 2017, many mediation attempts led by Hizbullah and Iran have failed to end the dispute between Hamas and the regime. Yet the current international and regional developments might be a game-changer this time, the Gaza-based political analyst Wajih Abu Zarifa said.

He told The Media Line that both Hamas and the Assad regime have an interest in ending the feud.

“Hamas realized that its bet on the fall of the Syrian regime and the domination of the Brotherhood movement was a total failure. It found itself in a position that doesn’t represent the movement’s approach and aspirations. That’s why it decided to reconsider its stance and retract it,” he said.

The Assad regime also has many reasons to move forward in repairing its relationship with Hamas, according to Abu Zarifa.

“The Syrian regime wants to prove that it was right as most of the anti-regime parties retreated from their position and resumed relations with Damascus,” he said.

“Moreover, Syria wants to be an active party in the Palestinian issue, and this will not be possible without reconciling with the Palestinian Hamas movement. And finally, the Syrian regime wants to strengthen ties with Iran, Russia, and Hizbullah, and resolving disputes with Hamas would absolutely contribute to achieving this goal,” Abu Zarifa continued.

Syria would have conditions for significant progress in reconciliation, he said.

“It’s too early to talk about details, but one of these conditions is that Hamas apologizes for its previous anti-regime position and publicly retracts it. Not allowing some Hamas leaders, those who expressed sharp opinions against the regime, to enter Syrian territory, would probably be another requirement to settle the disagreement,” he said.

“The partial return of the official relationship, the reception of delegations, and the resumption of dialogue are positive signs that will create a new reality. We do not know how it may develop in time,” Abu Zarifa said.

A top Hamas leader confirmed reports that the Islamist movement has taken steps to restore relations with the Syrian government.

Khalil al-Hayya, head of Hamas’ Arab and Islamic Relations Office, said in an interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on Tuesday that the movement’s institutions “approved seeking to restore the relationship with Damascus.

“There was an internal and external discussion at all levels of Hamas in which leaders, cadres, and even detainees inside prisons engaged, and it was decided to seek to restore the relationship with Damascus,” Hayya said.

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
 
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.