Hamas has joined the Syrian rebels and has introduced its tunnel smuggling expertise while training rebels and fighting with them against its former ally Syrian President Bashar Assad, The London Times reported Friday.
Quoting anonymous Western sources, the newspaper stated, “The Qassam Brigades have been training units very close to Damascus. These are specialists. They are really good.”
Hamas reportedly is helping rebels build tunnels for weapons to be used on an assault on Damascus, Assad’s stronghold.
Syria hosts half a million Arabs classified by the United Nations as “Palestinian refugees,” whose support for Hamas would bolster its strength against its rival Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas denied the report and explained that one of its members who was killed outside Damascus last summer had left the terrorist organization.
Hamas’ London-based official Osama Hamdan stated, “We don’t interfere in the internal problems of Syria. Our members there are normal civilians, Syrian Palestinians, who live with their families there.”
However, it is “common knowledge” that Hamas agents are fighting with he rebels in refugee camps, according to a source in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp
Sources also told the London newspaper that Qatar, which has donated a quarter of a billion dollars to Hamas in Gaza and has promised more, may have persuaded Hamas to join the civil war.
De facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said in Cairo in February, almost at the same time the Emir of Qatar paid an historic visit to Gaza, “I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform.”