Palestinian groups in Syria deny closure of their Damascus offices
Several Palestinian organizations with offices in Syria told Al Bawaba that they have not yet received any information from the Syrian authorities about the fate of their offices in Damascus. On Saturday, the US secretary of state Colin Powell announced that Syria had taken action in view of the US demands and has begun the closure of their offices.
“I have not been notified of anything in this regard,” said spokesman and politburo member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Maher al-Taher.
Attempts to contact the chief of Hamas’ politburo in Damascus, Khaled Mish’al, had failed, however the movement’s spokesman in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar, denied they have been informed by the Syrian government about closure od their offices in the Syrian capital. It is noteworthy to point out that Hamas has no ‘real’ office in Damascus as the organization carries out all its media-related functions, its only duties in that country, from Mish’al’s home.
For his part, the member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) press office in Damascus, Mu’tasem Hamadah, said their offices were still open and nothing has changed from prior to Powell’s visit. “Our offices at the refugee camps are still operating and nothing has changed as far as these offices are concerned.”
The secretary general of the Islamic Jihad movement in Syria, Ramadan Shallah, was not in his office to comment on the news and to answer questions about whether their office in Damascus has been closed or not. Instead, Islamic Jihad spokesman in Gaza, Abdullah al-Shami, confirmed they had not received any information on the subject. “All we know is that the Syrian stance has not changed,” he said in reference to the Syrian Foreign Minister’s recent announcement about the nature of these offices - press offices rather than military/political ones.
At a press conference in Beirut Powell said, “I expect them [Syrians] to do more regarding the entry of [Palestinian faction] officials and organizations into Syria,” in reference to the demands the American secretary of state conveyed to Damascus. (Albawaba.com)