Hamas says does not plan to quit Syria
Hamas says the constant travels of its leader Khaled Meshaal does not indicate the movement of its headquarters out of turbulent Syria; rather aimed at consolidating Arab support for the Palestinian cause and reconciliation
AFP , Saturday 28 Jan 2012
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gestures as he talks about a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, at his office in Damascus October 11, 2011. (Photo:Reuters)
The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas said on Saturday it does not plan to move its headquarters out of unrest-hit Syria.
"There is no change, and Hamas has not taken any decision to leave Syria, and we are still there," spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP.
He said the constant travels to Arab states of the movement's Damascus-based chief Khaled Meshaal and other officials were aimed at consolidating Arab support for the Palestinian cause and inter-Palestinian reconciliation.
On Sunday, Meshaal is to make his first visit to Amman since he was expelled from the kingdom in 1999.
Hamas leaders will "keep Syria as their base even if they are obliged to stay away from the country a little more than before," said a Palestinian official in Gaza City, on condition of anonymity.
"Hamas will not close its offices in Damascus and will not leave the country," he said, although "for reasons of security some leaders may feel obliged at times to leave the country."
Syria, a firm supporter of the Islamist movement, has been hit by more than 10 months of deadly anti-regime protests.