Tension between the Syrian government and Hamas has reached the breaking point, with the group reportedly leaving Syria, according to Egyptian paper Al-Hayat Daily and the Muslim Brotherhood's news website. Egypt has also pushed for greater recognition of the terrorist organization, as Hamas prepares to join a unity government and a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
Hamas recently denied rumors that it would be leaving Syria, but increasing pressure by the regime forced them to consider other options. "The Syrian government said to us, 'Whoever is not with us is against us,'" a unnamed senior Hamas official in Syria told UPI. "It wants us to express clearly our position over what is going on in Syria. It wants us to be against the Syrian demonstrations."
"We told them we are neutral. We said to them we are living in the country as visitors and we have no right to comment or interfere in the country's problems," the official said. However, the regime rejected the group's neutrality and has been applying strong pressure on it to support the regime.
According to al-Hayat Daily, Qatar accepted Hamas' political leadership but rejected hosting its military wing. Efforts by the terrorist group to secure a place in Egypt and Jordan failed, although Egypt has agreed to allow Hamas political officer Mousa Abu Marzook, a U.S. Specially Designated Terrorist, to open up an office in Cairo.
Corresponding to the growing support for Hamas in Egypt is a shift in Egyptian foreign policy. Although Hamas still refuses to recognize or negotiate with Israel, Egypt announced that it will support a unilateral declaration of statehood by the new Hamas-Fatah unity government. Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby also proposed that the United States follow suit in recognizing the Palestinian state, even though the call could upset members of Congress, who may in turn restrict aid to the post-Mubarak regime.