Report: Mashaal, Hamas Quit Syria for Good
According to reports in the Arab media Thursday, Hamas top terrorist Khaled Mashaal, fearing to return to Syria, will be setting up shop in Qatar. Mashaal is currently in Qatar, where he met earlier this week with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to sign an agreement on a PA unity government.
According to the report in the London-based Al-sharq Al-awsat, Mashaal has decided not to return to Damascus, where Hamas has been based for decades, because of the likelihood that President Bashar al-Assad, with whom Hamas has thrown in its lot, will fall. In addition, the report says, Mashaal has ordered all suspension of remaining Hamas activities in Syria – meaning that no official meetings will take place, due to the unrest, which makes “normal functioning” of the office impossible.
Several weeks ago, Arutz Sheva reported that the families of most of Hamas' senior officials in Syria had left the country. Mashaal's family went to Amman, but apparently will be moving to Qatar as well, the report said. Several other top Hamas terrorists, including Abu Marzouk and Alkaidi Emad, went to Egypt and Gaza. Mashaal himself has been in Amman since the beginning of the year, but apparently has decided to make a final break with Syria. Currently, the only Hamas representative left in Damascus is Izak al-Rishk. The report did not say if he would be leaving Syria as well.
Meanwhile. Assad's forces continued to attack protesters against his regime. On Thursday morning, reports said that 13 residents of Homs were killed – the latest in the 400-some that have been killed there since the weekend, when the Syrian army invaded the city to put down protests.