The Muslim Brotherhood movement in Syria issued a rare statement on Wednesday saying it is temporarily suspend all activities against President Bashar Assad's regime and instead allocating its resources toward helping Hamas in Gaza.
A pamphlet published by the Brotherhood's London offices said the movement has "suspended all of activities against the Syrian regime in order to direct all efforts toward backing the diplomatic campaign."
The pamphlet said the movement would "fulfill its legitimate and moral obligation to take part in any action meant to save the Palestinians in Gaza," and called on "Arabs everywhere" to "assist in any way possible our people in Gaza who are fighting on the front, be it by prayer, by donating money and blood or with the use of the media and the Internet."
The message also called on the regime in Damascus to "remove all of the barriers that are preventing Syria and its people from fulfilling their sacred duty to liberate the conquered land and support the Palestinian brothers' resistance."
In a conversation with Ynet, the group's exiled leader Ali Bayanouni refused to comment on the report.
In the early 1980s the Muslim Brotherhood was crushed by the late Syrian president Hafez Assad, Bashar's father. On 2 February 1982, the Brotherhood led a major insurrection in Hama, rapidly taking control of the city; the military responded by bombing Hama throughout the rest of the month, killing between 10,000 and 30,000 people.
The operation marked the defeat of the Brotherhood, and the militant Islamic movement in general, as a political force in Syria. Since then its leaders have been operating from London and other European capital and frequently assail the regime in Syria.