debkafile Exclusive: Abbas gets nowhere in bid for Syria’s Assad to condemn Hamas coup d’etat in Gaza

Voices were raised in their two-hour telephone conversation Sunday, June 17.
Mahmoud Abbas asked the Syrian president to follow in his father’s footsteps and recognize a single Palestinian authority, the PLO and himself as its head, while treating Hamas as an occupying force in Gaza. His first step should be to denounce Hamas’ coup d’etat.
When Assad did not immediately agree, debkafile‘s Middle East sources report Abbas threatened to publicly expose Syria’s active role in abetting Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip.
Assad finally agreed to talk further with an Abbas emissary to Damascus. This did not work out either. The PLO executive member Abbas Zaki, who is in charge of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, was sent post-haste to the Syrian capital where the President declined to receive him. Foreign minister Walid Moallem, who did, said he would pass his message on.
Taking this as a brush-off, Abbas turned for support to Syrian opposition Muslim Brotherhood leader in exile Sadr e-Din Bayouni. In Cairo, however, the Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammed Mahdi Aqef came out openly behind Hamas, its Palestinian offshoot, breaking away from the official Egyptian line which has led to the severance of ties with Hamas and a decision to relocate the Egyptian diplomatic mission to Ramallah, the Fatah government’s capital.

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