Syrian media raps Hamas leadership for abandoning Assad regime
State TV describes militant group leader Khaled Meshal as 'ungrateful and traitorous;' fighting intensifies in Damascus, as video of missing U.S. journalist surfaces.
Syria's state-run media have criticized the leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas - once a staunch ally of the Damascus regime - for turning his back on President Bashar Assad.
Syrian TV in a late Monday broadcast described Hamas leader Khaled Meshal as "ungrateful and traitorous."
Meshal used to be based in Damascus but now spends most of his time in Qatar, which backs Syrian rebels battling Assad's troops. Most Hamas leaders have left Syria to settle in Egypt, where their allies in the Muslim Brotherhood are in power.
Relations between Assad's regime and Hamas have been disintegrating since Syria's uprising erupted over 18 months ago. Hamas at first took a neutral stance, but then in February, the group praised Syrians for "moving toward democracy and reform."
Syrian troops intensified their attack on an area near Damascus for the second day on Tuesday, activists said. "Nine people were killed and 30 wounded in the area of Douma as troops stormed the outskirts of the region," activist Haytham al-Abdallah said from the Syrian capital.
The heavy shelling prompted many residents to flee to safer regions overnight.
Activists in Lebanon said Syrian troops had also launched a wide-scale attack on Zabadani, near Lebanon, from where the shelling could be heard.
Syrian ebels seized overnight an undisclosed number of missiles when they attacked an air force base in the eastern Damascus area of Ghotta, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Fighting also continued in Aleppo, the country's largest city and commercial center, with rebels claiming to have scored advances in the key neighborhood of Hanano.
Meanwhile, a video allegedly showing Austin Tice, an American freelance journalist who has been missing in Syria since August 13, surfaced online.
In the 47-second-long video, headlined "Austin Tice still alive," the journalist was shown blindfolded, repeating verses from an Islamic prayer before crying out in English, "Oh, Jesus."
He had written for several news outlets, including the Washington Post and McClatchy Newspapers.
The video, which was posted on YouTube on September 26 but had previously escaped notice, shows the alleged Tice held hostage by what appeared to be Islamist militants who hid their faces from the camera.