The leadership of the Palestinian branch of Islamic Jihad
has relocated from Syria
due to the growing unrest in the country, London-based Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday.
According to Palestinian sources quoted by the paper, Ramadan Shallah, the Islamic Jihad's leader, is now based in Iran, and his deputy had also relocated to the Islamic Republic several weeks ago.
The sources noted that the move did not bare any consequences on the terrorist groups' relations with the Syrian regime and President Bashar Assad.
However, an Islamic Jihad source in Gaza Strip denied the report, Israel's Army Radio reported on Saturday. "The movement cannot abandon its Syrian brothers at hard times like these," the source said, adding that the Islamic Jihad is providing aid to Palestinian refugees who are living in Syria.
"The departure from Syria of some of Jihad's leadership is a part of overseas activities and is not final," he noted.
In February, the newspaper reported that Hamas
politburo chief Khaled Mashaal
has temporarily moved the group's activities to Qatar. Mashaal was quoted as saying he cannot receive visitors in Syria due to the volatile security situation there.
Asharq Al-Awsat quoted Palestinian sources as saying that most senior Hamas operatives have already left Syria, adding that the Islamist group's leaders do not plan on returning to Damascus at this stage, in part because the Muslim Brotherhood, which is linked to Hamas, has a key role in the uprising against Assad.