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Islamic Jihad seeks to renew ties with Damascus

In light of burgeoning Arab interest in restoring ties with the Syrian regime, Palestine's Islamic Jihad movement headed to Damascus to secure political and financial support.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A delegation from the political leadership of Islamic Jihad met with an adviser to the Syrian regime in Damascus Jan. 8. It was the first meeting held between the two sides since 2011, when they became estranged over Islamic Jihad's neutral position in the conflict in Syria.

Some Islamic Jihad leaders left Damascus and headed to Lebanon and Tehran in August 2012, while others remained to maintain some minimal ties with the Syrian regime. However, the movement’s neutral positions regarding the conflict in Syria and Yemen later angered Iran, the Syrian regime’s strategic ally. As a result, Iran reduced the movement’s funding in 2015. Islamic Jihad suffered a financial crisis until Iran resumed aid after its leaders repeatedly visited Tehran in 2017 and 2018.

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