Bashar al Assad's outreach to Hamas movement harms Palestine's interests and "reinforces for us its isolation," says State Department spokesperson.

Syia's Bashar al Assad (R) receiving Hamas chief of Arab relations, Khalil al Hayya (C) and others in capital Damascus, on October 19, 2022.
Syia's Bashar al Assad (R) receiving Hamas chief of Arab relations, Khalil al Hayya (C) and others in capital Damascus, on October 19, 2022. (AFP)

The United States has warned against any normalisation of ties with Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad and insisted his reconciliation with Hamas — also a pariah for Washington — showed his "isolation."

Assad, who has been gradually restoring relations in the Arab world after largely prevailing in a brutal 11-year civil war, on Wednesday received a delegation from the Palestinian movement.

"The Assad regime's outreach to this terrorist organisation only reinforces for us its isolation," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

Hamas is listed as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US and Washington sees it as one of the main obstacles to relations between Israeli and Palestinian authorities. 

"It harms the interests of the Palestinian people and it undercuts global efforts to counterterrorism in the region and beyond," he said.

"We will continue rejecting any support to rehabilitate the Assad regime, particularly from designated terrorist organisations like Hamas."

Hamas, which governs Palestine's Gaza enclave, was long allied with Syria but broke with it in 2012 as it condemned the suppression of large protests by Assad.

READ MORE: Hamas officials visit Syria to resume ties with Assad


Before the civil war, since 1999, Hamas had long kept a political base in Syria, receiving Damascus' support in its resistance against Israel. Hamas' leadership-in-exile remained in Syria even after the group assumed power in Gaza in 2007.

The US has supported opposition groups in the Syrian civil war against Assad but it changed its focus to controlling the territory of the Daesh terror group. 

The US has a military foot in Syria and has allied with YPG, a branch of PKK terror group that controls around one-third of the Middle Eastern country.

Hamas' visit to Damascus comes amid a thaw in relations brokered by Iran and Hezbollah from Lebanon which staunchly backs Assad.

Hamas signed a reconciliation deal with Palestine's Fatah in Algiers last week, vowing to hold elections by next October in a bid to settle a 15-year rift.

Assad in March travelled to the United Arab Emirates, a symbolic sign of normalisation condemned by the United States, a close partner of Gulf Arab states.

READ MORE: Fatah-Hamas deal: Can Palestinians have a united front against Israel?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies