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Hamas urges former ally Hezbollah to leave Syria

Hamas urges former ally Hezbollah to leave Syria

June 17th, 2013 in News

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - The Palestinian militant group Hamas has urged Lebanon's Hezbollah, a former ally, to withdraw its fighters from Syria, signaling growing sectarian tensions over the war there.

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim movement, is helping Syrian President Bashar Assad fight Syrian rebels, most of them Sunni Muslims. Sunni Hamas broke with former patron Assad last year over his crackdown on fellow Sunnis.

Hamas, along with Hezbollah, used to be part of the self-proclaimed Iranian- and Syrian-led "axis of resistance" against Israel.

In a statement Monday, Hamas called on Hezbollah to "withdraw its forces from Syria and keep its weapons directed at the Zionist enemy." In unprecedented public criticism, Hamas said Hezbollah fueled sectarian polarization by sending fighters to Syria.

The statement was carried on a Hamas-linked website.