Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday congratulated Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on his organization's "victory" in the Gaza Strip, Syrian news agency SANA reported. At a meeting in Damascus with Mashaal and a Hamas delegation, Assad said that Israel had failed to achieve its objectives in Operation Cast Lead, "despite using its most lethal weaponry." This, he said, was "proof of the Palestinian people's dedication to their rights over the land and their deep belief in the ultimate victory over the occupation and aggression." The Hamas delegation reportedly expressed its gratitude to Assad for Syria's support. Delegation members added that in the coming days, they intended to visit a number of Arab nations who supported the Palestinians during the fighting in Gaza. Syria, they said, was first on their list.