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Monday, December 05, 2011

Hamas denies its members are fleeing Syria

UPI reports:
Iran has threatened to cut off funds and arms to Hamas if its officials vacate their Damascus headquarters and leave Syria, Palestinian sources told Haaretz.

Hamas officials involved in raising funds for the organization's military wing and some members of the political leadership have already left Syria with their families for Gaza, Lebanon, Sudan and Qatar, the sources said.

The sources told Haaretz "second- and third-ranking" Hamas activists are leaving but senior leaders such as Khaled Masha'al will remain in the Syrian capital.
Hamas denies it:
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Monday categorically denied media reports about the departure from Damascus of families of the movement's leaders. According to these reports, these families have secretly left to the Gaza Strip amid the violent events taking place across Syria.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement on Monday, "the movement (headquarters) are still in Syria, and continue to work as usual, following the Palestinian issues, without any significant change." According to Barhoum, the reports about Hamas leaders leaving Syrian territory are just a "failed and miserable attempt to create the strained relationship between the movement and the Syrian regime," pointing out that Hamas has not taken any decision on this matter until this moment.

The Hamas official stressed that the movement is not looking for an alternative to host its leadership.
I would be very surprised if Iran would cut Hamas off even if it did leave Syria. Hamas is hardly strengthening Syria and its utility to Iran is its terrorism against Israeli Jews, not its presence in Syria.

So while I believe that some Hamas members are fleeing Syria, I doubt that Iran made any threats, except maybe as a form of posturing.