Syria shutters Hamas offices in break with group

Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A spokesman for Hamas says the Syrian government has sealed its offices in Damascus, finalizing the break between the Islamic militant group and its former patron.

Spokesman Ayman Taha said on Tuesday that the move had been expected after Hamas openly switched sides to support the armed rebellion against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Taha says Monday's move by Damascus was "a result of our siding with the Syrian people in their just struggle." Taha spoke from Cairo.

Hamas, an armed group sworn to Israel's destruction, moved its headquarters to Syria in the late 1990s. But relations have soured since Syria's violent suppression of the uprising that began in March 2011.

Hamas leaders are now based in Qatar, Egypt and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

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