AMMAN - Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad killed at
least 15 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in a rocket attack on a
rebel-held refugee camp on the southern edge of Damascus on Wednesday,
opposition activists said.
Palestinian militia from the pro-Assad Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) as well as
Syrian army and intelligence troops have been surrounding the camp for
On Saturday they launched a ground infantry assault backed by
tanks and multiple rocket launchers to capture the camp but were being met by
stiff resistance, opposition sources said.
"The rockets hit a residential
and shopping area way behind the front line. The victims were civilians,"
activist Rami al-Sayyed from the Syrian Media Center opposition monitoring
group, said from the area, adding that 45 people were wounded.
could not be independently confirmed. The Syrian government restricts access to
The Yarmouk Camp Coordination Committee said two Grad
missiles fired by PFLP-GC militia hit the Hamdan Bakery area. Five women and
five children were killed. One family living in the area, Fadlon, had five
members killed, the organization said.
Video footage taken by activists,
which could not be immediately verified, showed one destroyed building and
extensive damage to surrounding structures. People collected body parts from the
rubble. A hand was placed into a transparent plastic bag.
The Jerusalem Post can not verify the veracity of this video, which claims to show the moment the rocket fell near the Hamdan Bakery area.
have been fighting against rebels for two and a half years in a civil war that
has killed at least 100,000 people.
Located at the southern entrance of
Damascus, the sprawling camp was home to hundreds of thousands of Syrians and
Palestinians before the uprising against the 13 year rule of
Yarmouk links the large rebel held Sunni Muslim neighbourhoods of
Hajar al-Aswad and Asali with the capital and its capture is a key objective for
loyalist forces seeking to regain control over southern Damascus, opposition
Syrian rebels aided by Palestinian fighters who had joined
the revolt captured Yarmouk at the start of this year and took the PFLP-GC
headquarters in the camp. The PFLP-GC, headed by long time Assad ally Ahmed
Jibreel, is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States.