Hamas: Mashaal acting for Palestinian refugees in Syria

Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal (C) greets the media as he enters the Arab League headquarter before his meeting with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, in Cairo, Jan. 6.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal’s role as mediator in the Syrian uprising is in the interests of Palestinian refugees in the country, senior party official Salah al-Bardawil said Saturday.

The Arab League on Friday asked Mashaal to pass a message to Bashar Assad urging the Syrian President to end violence in the country after a bloody 10-month crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Mashaal agreed to act as a mediator because there are hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the country, al-Bardawil said in a statement, adding that the party remained committed to its policy not to interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab country.

Al-Bardawil added that Hamas had advised the Syrian leadership not to use force to deal with protesters.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi said Friday that Mashaal had played a role in convincing the Syrian government to sign the Arab League protocol.

After his meeting with al-Arabi, Mashaal told reporters in Cairo he had urged Assad to find a political solution to the protests since the start of the crisis.

“We believe that, specifically through the Arab solution, we must move from a security solution to a political one that will stop the bloodshed of Syrians and that will achieve stability, reform and democracy for Syria in order to avoid the current strife people are facing.”

He added: “Syrian blood is precious to us and we are keen for an end to the crisis by a political solution not a security one.”

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people, many of them peaceful protesters, have been killed since the uprising began in March. The Syrian government says it is facing an armed insurgency and that what it calls “terrorists” have killed 2,000 members of the security forces.

Hamas’ politburo has been based in Damascus since it was forced out of Jordan in 1999.

Together with Iran, Syria has been one of Hamas’ main regional allies. However, the uprising against Assad’s rule has strained ties between the two.

Angering Syria, Hamas has refused to hold rallies in Palestinian refugee camps in support of the Assad government.

However, the group still officially maintains its headquarters in the Syrian capital.

(maannews.net / 08.01.2012)

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