Hamas Office in Damascus ‘Still Open’

Hamas’ politburo in Damascus is still open and has not moved to Cairo, the party’s representative in Yemen said Wednesday.

"The movement’s office in Syria did not move to Cairo, it was not closed and Hamas leaders are still in it but because of the current circumstances in Syria, we left and we’ll be back when the situation becomes stable," Abdul Muti Zaqqut told Ma’an.

Senior Hamas leaders are reported to have left Damascus, while the head of Hamas’ politburo Khalid Meshaal relocated to Qatar amid the country’s bloody crackdown against an 18-month uprising.

Zaqqut said Hamas was in talks to open offices in other Arab countries but declined to say where.

Hamas has been reluctant to criticize its long-time ally President Bashar Assad, who is supported by Hamas’ financial backer Iran. Assad allowed Hamas to relocate to Damascus after it was ousted from Jordan in 1999, and the party is said to have significant assets in Syria.

In Cairo in February, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh publicly condemned Assad’s brutal crackdown of the uprising challenging his rule, although other party leaders have said Haniyeh’s comments did not reflect the movement’s position.

Zaqqut said Haniyeh planned to visit Yemen soon and that Hamas enjoyed good relations with Sanaa.

Around 10,000 Palestinians live in Yemen, including 4,000 students. They were not affected by the revolution in the country, Zaqqut said.

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh opened an office for Hamas in 1996.


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