Hamas reportedly turns against Syria


(JTA) — Hamas reportedly has turned on its former Syrian sponsors.

"I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform," Reuters quoted Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, as telling thousands of worshipers last Friday at Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque.

Hamas has been reluctant until now to join in the growing condemnation of Syria for its violent crackdown on opponents.

Syrian President Bashar Assad and his father, Hafez, for years gave the group diplomatic cover, allowing it to headquarter its leadership in exile in Damascus.

Reuters quoted worshipers at the service as also condemning Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

Iran, which is playing an active role in helping Syria’s rulers repress the opposition, has been a financial and logistical backer for Hamas.

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