Hamas denies reports it was asked to leave Syria

Parliament member Bardawil says organization not asked to close down Syria HQ; Hamas weighs whether to relocate to Qatar, according to report.

September 12, 2011 09:52
2 minute read.
Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar

Mahmoud al-Zahar smirking (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Hamas denied reports that it was asked to leave Damascus on Monday, with parliament member Selah El Bardawil saying that it has not been told to close down its offices in Syria, according to Israel Radio.

Israel Radio also noted that they received report Hamas was weighing whether or not to relocate to Qatar and that Islamic Jihad has denied reports that its leadership is debating whether to move its headquarters from Syria to Tehran.

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Deputy Political Bureau Chief Musa Abu Marzuk said on Saturday that Hamas has no intention of moving its headquarters out of Syria, according to Israel Radio.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has also confirmed that Hamas has not handed in an official request to Egypt to relocate its offices to its territory.

According to Egypt’s envoy to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Yasser Othman, the issue is not being discussed at all in Egypt. Othman also stressed that Cairo sees PLO representation in its country as sufficient and will not be taking any steps to encourage divisions among the Palestinians.

The report comes after Zahar announced on Friday that he is considering the possibility of moving the group’s headquarters from Damascus to Cairo.

“All the Palestinians in Syria are in distress, and it’s not just Hamas,” Zahar said.

“When it comes down to where the headquarters of the organization are located, there are many options, and Egypt is one of them,” he continued.

This is not the first time that reports have surfaced about Hamas moving its headquarters out of Syria.

In April, the group said it had no plans to move its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar because of the unrest in Syria.

“Hamas is continuing to carry out its work in Damascus,” said Izat Risheq, a member of the Hamas political bureau. “There is no change on our status in Syria.”

The London-based pan- Arab daily Al-Hayat reported that Syria asked Hamas to leave the country and that Qatar only agreed to receive the movement’s political leadership. The report claimed that Egypt and Jordan refused to receive the Hamas leadership.

The paper said that the decision to ask Hamas to leave Syria came in response to the movement’s support for the popular uprising in that country.

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