Syria slams Hamas head Meshaal after re-election

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A Syrian regime newspaper on Wednesday slammed militant Palestinian movement Hamas and its leader Khaled Meshaal for breaking with Damascus, accusing them of giving up on resistance against Israel.

The report comes two days after Meshaal’s re-election as head of Hamas’s politburo for another four-year term.

Hamas has shifted “the gun from the shoulder of resistance (against Israel) to the shoulder of compromise,” Al-Thawra daily said.

“Today, as Meshaal becomes the head of Hamas for the fifth time... the West Bank, Gaza and the whole of occupied Palestine have no reason to celebrate.”

Meshaal “cannot believe his luck. After an acclaimed history of struggle, he has returned to the safe Qatari embrace, wealthy and fattened in the age of the Arab Spring’s storms,” the newspaper added.

After years of alignment with Damascus, during which he used Damascus as a base, Meshaal relocated in 2012 to Doha, severing ties with President Bashar al-Assad and declaring his support for the revolt against his regime.

The Assad regime, supported by Iran and a longtime backer of Shiite Lebanese movement Hezbollah, maintains that it is the last Arab bastion of anti-Israeli resistance.

It has fiercely criticized Meshaal’s decision to break with the regime, recalling Damascus’s willingness to host the Hamas leader when other regional capitals refused to do so.

Throughout the two-year conflict in Syria, which the U.N. says has cost more than 70,000 lives, the regime has also accused Turkey, the West and several Arab states of conspiring to topple the regime because of its opposition to Israel.

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