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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reports that Syria arrested members of Meshal's family

Last week reports began to filter out of Syria that members of Khaled Meshal's family, including his daughter Fatima and her husband, had been arrested by Syrian forces on the pretext of having property registered under fictitious names.

Hamas denied the report, but now Arab newspaper Elaph confirms it. Fatima and her husband were arrested on January 11.

According to the report, Meshal's wife and other children were also summoned by Syrian police on the 15th, and Fatima and her husband were released on 50,000 pounds bail (about $900.)

The harassment is allegedly to show Syria's displeasure at Hamas not supporting the Assad regime more strongly. Meshal has been trying to straddle the fence between supporting the Syrian revolution and not upsetting the regime.

Elaph's sources claim that Meshal's announcement that he will step down as Hamas' political leader is related to this pressure from Syria. Elaph says that Syria prefers that he be replaced with his current deputy, Mousa Abu Marzouk.