The last member of the leadership of the Hamas party left Syria on Sunday, in an attempt to separate the party from the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters.Previously, the Hamas party had not taken a strong stand on the Syrian government’s crackdown on protesters, and was criticized by the international community for tacitly supporting the Syrian regime.

Numerous members of the party had been based in Syria for years after having been exiled by Israeli authorities.

Imad al-Alami returned to the Gaza Strip on Sunday to a cheering crowd, after having been exiled from Gaza to South Lebanon in 1991. He arrived in Syria three years ago, where he joined Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshaal.

Al-Alami crossed into Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt, and did not say how long he plans to remain in Gaza.

In a press conference at the Gaza border, al-Alami told reporters that he was happy to be back, but his happiness was incomplete because of the six million Palestinian refugees still living in the diaspora.

The move by the Hamas party was criticized by the Iranian government, which continues to support the Syrian government. According to the United Nations, an estimated 2,000 civilians have been killed by the Syrian government since last year, when the popular uprising began.