The Syrian government and the opposition coalition (SOC) are competing on the portion of pilgrims to Mecca, which Saudi Arabia has granted to Syria this year.
The Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) confirmed in a statement that the ministry is the only body authorized to organize Hajj affairs in the Syrian Arab Republic, adding that Saudi Arabia is still preventing the Syrian people from performing pilgrimage.
The statement warned Syrian against “all statements circulated via social media on procedures of organizing Hajj groups in Syria”, labelling them as “incorrect and issued by sides hostile to the Syrian people.”
On the opposite front, the SOC affiliated Syrian Supreme Hajj Committee announced that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set Syria’s quota for the 2022 Hajj season at 10,186 pilgrims, two years after the hajj pilgrimage was suspended for non-residents due to the covid-19 outbreak.
The announcement came in a statement read by the Director of the committee and Head of the Syrian Interim Government, Abdurrahman Mustafa, at a press conference in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Mustafa pointed out that the Committee has already begun preparations to receive the wishing Syrian pilgrims in its offices and assign groups to take care of the pilgrims during the hajj journey.
The Director of the Syrian Hajj Committee, Samer Bayrakdar, said that applications confirmed in 2020 would be accepted within the conditions mentioned above.
He added that new applications will be accepted if there is room for more applications within the specified quota.
Bayrakdar pointed out that Saudi Arabia has reduced the number of pilgrims to 45 percent of the usual number, adding that Syria’s quota was reduced from 22,500 to 10,186 pilgrims.
Bayrakdar stressed that the Committee deals with the hajj pilgrimage as a religious issue away from any form of politicization, adding that the Committee provides its services to all Syrians inside and outside Syria regardless of their political or ethnic affiliations.
Since 2011, Saudi Arabia has granted the right to organize the travel of Syrians to Hajj to the SOC-affiliated Supreme Hajj Committee.