The Palestinian terror group Hamas has revived relations with the Assad regime in Syria following a decade’s freeze sparked by the Syrian civil war.
Hamas, founded in 1987, is committed to Israel’s destruction and its replacement with an Islamic state.
The group seized power in the Gaza Strip in a violent coup in 2007, and remains split with the Palestinian Authority, dominated by the more moderate Fatah.
The shift pushes Hamas, which has received substantial Iranian support, deeper into the fold of the Iranian-led “axis of resistance” against Israel which also includes Syria, the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The shift likely reflects broader changes in the region, with Hamas’ long-term ally Turkey restoring full diplomatic ties with Israel in August.
A delegation led by Hamas officials is expected to visit Damascus, the Syrian capital, next week, following a series of preparatory meetings.
Hamas is considered to be a terror group by the UK, alongside Israel, the US and EU.
Since it seized power in Gaza in 2007, Israel and Egypt have imposed restrictions on the Strip to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas and other terrorist factions.
Hamas last month hailed warming ties with the Syrian regime – widely seen as having dragged Syria through a decade’s civil war killing more than 300,000 civilians – as “a service to the [Palestinian] nation”.