20 February 2018

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04/07/2015 SYRIA

UN calls for humanitarian access to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp

The situation for the camp’s 18,000 refugees has been described as "beyond inhumane". Once opposed to Assad, the camp has seen groups realign with al-Nusra side with the Islamic State group, and Palestinians and the Free Syrian Army work with the Syrian army.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The United Nations Security Council has called for humanitarian access to the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus.

The situation has deteriorated since 1 April, when Islamic State (IS) group launched an offensive, and occupied much of the area.

The al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda linked group described as a "moderate Syrian opposition” in the West, was working with IS.

Palestinian militiamen opposed to the Syrian government and some Free Syrian Army fighters are instead leading the fight against IS militants.

The chair of the 15-member Security Council, Jordan's ambassador Dina Kawar, called for the "protection of civilians . . . humanitarian access . . . and life-saving assistance".

One UN official described the situation for the 18,000 refugees there as "beyond inhumane".

The Yarmouk camp is eight kilometres from the capital. Its seizure by the Islamic State group is considered a prelude to an attack against Damascus.

At the same time, the refugees can be used as human shields against air strikes by the government helicopters.

According to some scholars, the Yarmouk attack shows that Jihadists are not interested in Palestinian nationalism.

“It has not escaped Palestinians’ attention that jihadists are not fighting Israel, and that some, the al-Nusra Front for instance, receive Israeli assistance,” Prof Samir Saul, who teaches the history of international relations at the Université de Montréal (Canada), told L’Orient-Le Jour today.

In the past, Palestinians in Yarmouk backed the Syrian regime. However, in 2012, led by exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, the camp turned against Assad (as Mashal became friends with Qatar).

The irony is that the Syrian army is now defending the Palestinians still living in the camp.

See also

22/03/2012 SYRIA
Lebanese border village shelled as UN calls for a stop to the violence
The village of al-Qaa is hit, wounding one person. The UN Security Council adopts a statement with Russia and China voting in favour.

11/05/2012 SYRIA
UN condemns Damascus bombings. Regime and rebels must end violence
The final toll is 55 dead and more than 400 injured. Even China and Russia condemn the attack and call for respect of the ceasefire proposed by Kofi Annan.

30/01/2012 SYRIA
Assad troops recapture Damascus suburbs after two days of fighting
The suburb of Ghouta, seven miles from the capital’s center, was in the hands of rebels the of the Free Syrian Army. Fighting all over the country after the withdrawal of the Arab League on January 29. UN Security Council to discuss Syria.

09/04/2013 SYRIA
Damascus denies entry to UN inspection team
For Syrian authorities, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's request to have a team investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons would constitute a "violation of Syrian sovereignty". In Aleppo, a strange alliance forms among anti-government forces.

11/09/2013 SYRIA
Maaloula: Christians say announcement of withdrawal by Islamic rebels is false
A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army claim its forces evacuated the town in order to avoid bloodshed. Sources tell AsiaNews deny the report, saying terrorists are still entrenched in the town. With many residents are still holed up in their homes, Islamists are not letting anyone escape. In Damascus, hundreds of people attend the funerals of three young Catholics from Maaloula killed by Islamists.

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