- The Washington Times - Friday, April 5, 2013

The military wing of Hamas has upped its support for Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad and is now providing training.

Prior, Hamas was offering only support and assistance, but had held back from tapping its military forces, Ynet reported. But Friday, various media outlets reported that Hamas had completely severed ties with Mr. Assad and had sent military experts to Damascus to train the Syrian opposition, the Free Syrian Army. The group is now friends with Qater, Ynet reported.

The discovery is significant because Hamas — when conflict broke out two years ago — once stood firm in Mr. Assad’s camp, along with Hezbollah and Iran, Ynet reported. Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades have been sent to eastern Damascus to conduct the training.

“The Qassam Brigades have been training units very close to Damascus. These are specialists. They are really good,” said a Western diplomat with high-level contacts in the Assad regime, in the Ynet report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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