In Brief: Hamas and Assad’s Syria reconcile after decade hiatus

Bashar al-Assad >, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Biden administration last week warned against any normalisation of diplomatic ties with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, insisting that his recent reconciliation with Palestinian terror group was an illustration of Assad’s “isolation”.

Assad, who has been gradually restoring links with the Arab world after prevailing in Syria’s gruelling civil war with Russian support, received a delegation from Hamas last Wednesday.

“The Assad regime’s outreach to this terrorist organisation only reinforces for us its isolation”, a State Department spokesperson said.

“It harms the interests of the Palestinian people and it undercuts global efforts to counterterrorism in the region and beyond”.
“We will continue rejecting any support to rehabilitate the Assad regime, particularly from designated terrorist organisations like Hamas”.

Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup in 2007 and is committed to Israel’s destruction, was a long-time ally of Syria until it condemned secular Alawite Assad’s crackdown against Sunni protestors in 2012.

The Hamas visit to Damascus is part of a thaw, largely brokered by Iran, between Sunni Hamas and Shia Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group that has strongly supported Assad.

In March, Assad travelled to the United Arab Emirates, in a symbolic sign of his rehabilitation in the Arab world that was likewise condemned by the US.