Fatah to Renew Ties with Syria After 32 Years

Fatah plans to open offices in Syria, says central committee member Abbas Zaki.

Ben Ariel ,

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad

The Fatah movement plans to re-establish official relations with the Syrian regime after 32 years, Fatah official Abbas Zaki said Thursday, according to the Ma’an news agency.

Zaki, a Fatah central committee member, told the news agency that a recent visit by a Fatah delegation to Syria was "successful," adding that Fatah offices will be opened in Syria soon.

He further said the visit to Syria was part of improving bilateral relations between the movement and the regime.

Palestinian Arab officials visited Syria last month to discuss efforts to protect the Yarmouk neighborhood of Damascus and its residents from the conflict.

A delegation led by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Zakaria al-Agha met with Syria's deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad and social affairs minister Kinda Shamat.

Yarmouk, which is referred to by the Western media as a “Palestinian refugee camp”, had been besieged by government forces since 2013 and is estimated to be home to 18,000 people. In recent weeks it was stormed by the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

Zaki told Ma’an that two thirds of Yarmouk was still under ISIS control, with the rest being under the control of a local armed group the People's Army and allied factions. He added that an agreement was reached to facilitate the entry of food and medical supplies to the neighborhood.

It is not yet clear what effect, if any, Fatah’s strengthening of ties with the Syrian regime will have on the relations between Hamas and the Syrian regime.

A rift between Hamas and the Bashar Al-Assad regime began forming when the Syrian civil war started. As the rift deepened, reports surfaced that Hamas was moving its headquarters from Damascus to Egypt and the terror group is strengthening itself in the Sinai and in Qatar.

Some reports claimed that the Damascus-based Hamas leadership left Syria after the Syrian government asked the Hamas leaders to leave. 

It was also reported at one time that Hamas was training the rebel Free Syrian Army in eastern Damascus, but the terror group vehemently denied any link to the rebels.