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Syria Warns PA Arabs Against Participating in Uprising

Syria’s foreign ministry warns the country's 'Palestinian refugees' against becoming embroiled in the country’s uprising.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/8/2012, 4:12 AM

Syrians inspect the site of a car bomb blast in the Mazzeh area of Damascus
Syrians inspect the site of a car bomb blast in the Mazzeh area of Damascus
AFP photo

Syria’s foreign ministry warned Palestinian Authority Arabs residing in the country against becoming embroiled in the country’s uprising on Wednesday, AFP reported.

“Syria will strongly oppose any attempt to bring the Palestinians into what is happening in Syria,” a ministry source said, according to a report on Syria TV.

“All Palestinian factions must keep away from every effort of armed terrorist gangs,” the source added, accusing the rebels of supporting Israel.

The statements came amid clashes in the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus, which have been ongoing for several days. Yarmouk serves as an unofficial camp for roughly 150,000 people registered as Palestinian refugees.

Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), led by Damascus ally Ahmad Jibril, fought alongside regime troops while Hamas fighters joined in on the rebel side, Syrian activists said.

Damascus has long supported Hamas, offering it safe haven and facilities, but opposition activists told AFP some Hamas fighters have recently joined forces with rebels fighting President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

Syrian members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, from which Hamas sprung, were among the first to participate when protests erupted against Assad’s rule in March last year.

In the first months of the uprising, Hamas’ leaders expressed support in principle for the struggle of the Syrian people while also highlighting the importance of the movement’s historical relationship with the Syrian regime.

However, as the rift with Assad deepened, reports surfaced last year that Hamas is moving its headquarters from Damascus to Egypt and the terror group is strengthening itself in the Sinai.

On Monday, Syrian security forces shut down all the offices belonging to Hamas in the country.

Last week, two Hamas leaders were killed by the Syrian army in another camp for people registered as Palestinian refugees, located near Deraa.