Iran threatening to cut Hamas funds, arms supply if it flees Syria
Iran had applied intense pressure to Hamas in an effort to persuade it not to leave Damascus, threatening even to cut off funds to the organization if it did so, Palestinian sources have told Haaretz.
The Iranian pressure also included an unprecedented ultimatum - namely, an explicit threat to stop supplying Hamas with arms and suspend the training of its military activists.
According to the sources, Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as an alternative location for its political command center. Hamas’ move comes despite intense Iranian pressure on the organization to refrain from relocating.
A Syrian opposition spokesman said recently that once Assad is toppled, his successors will have no intention of preserving the strategic alliance between Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah.
According to the Palestinian sources, only “second and third-ranking” Hamas activists are leaving Damascus, while senior members of the organization’s political wing, headed by Khaled Meshal, are remaining in the Syrian capital.
Senior Hamas political figures even met this past weekend with representatives of the Palestinian factions that are not members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sources add.
The Hamas activists on the move, the sources say, are those responsible for the activities and funding of the organization’s military wing, as well as some members of the political leadership. Most have left together with their families to a number of destinations, including Gaza, Sudan, Qatar and Lebanon.
The Palestinian sources have defined the relocation activities as a hasty abandonment of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who until recently was Hamas’ strongest ally in the Arab world.