Hamas denies reports leaders fled Syria

Denial comes in response to Reuters report saying dozens of activists were leaving Damascus quietly.

December 5, 2011 19:23
1 minute read.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal [file]

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hams/Handout)

Hamas denied Monday that some of its leaders had left Syria or were under pressure to leave. The denial came in response to a Reuters report that said dozens of Hamas activists had quietly moved from Damascus to the Gaza Strip because of the uncertainty surrounding the Syrian regime’s future.

“Hamas is still in Syria and working as usual without any change,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. Barhoum said that talk about Hamas leaving Syria was designed to damage the movement’s relations with the regime.

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The spokesman said the Hamas leadership hadn’t made any decision regarding its presence in Syria. He also denied other reports that Hamas was already searching for alternative countries to host its headquarters.

Ezat Risheq, a senior Hamas official in Damascus, said the movement’s leaders, including Khaled Mashaal, were still in Syria and had not come under pressure to leave.

“We’ve become used to these baseless reports,” Risheq added. “Once they say we are moving to Jordan, another time to Qatar and now to Cairo. All these reports are unfounded.”

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