The Hamas members say the group remains appreciative of Syrian leader Bashar Assad and there is no immediate intention to abandon their base in Damascus. But they confirmed that dozens of low and midlevel members have already left Syria as the security situation grows increasingly precarious.
"Most of Hamas has left Damascus. We have a plan B for leaving if things deteriorate," said a senior Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing the inner workings of the secretive group.
Hamas, an Iranian-backed Palestinian group, has been based in Syria for more than a decade. Assad has allowed Hamas, branded a terrorist group by Israel and the West, to use his territory for military training, and provided a valuable headquarters in the heart of the Arab world.