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PLO: Over 400 Palestinians killed in Syria conflict
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
09/20/2012
Head of the PLO's refugee department claims victims were killed in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus.
 
More than 400 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the fighting between the Syrian army and anti-government forces, Zakariya al-Agha, a senior PLO official, announced Thursday.

The announcement came as Palestinian refugees who fled from Syria to Jordan complained that the Palestinian Authority was doing nothing to assist them.

Nearly 500,000 Palestinians live in a number of refugee camps in Syria.

Agha, who heads the PLO’s refugee department, said that since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the Palestinian leadership’s policy has been not to support any of the rival parties.

“The refugees in Syria are there as guests until they return to the homeland from which they were forced out,” Agha told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station. He said that because the Palestinian refugees camps in Syria have not been involved in the conflict, many Syrian civilians found shelter with Palestinian families.

Agha accused radical Palestinian groups that are affiliated with the Syrian regime of seeking to involve the Palestinian camps in the conflict.

Although he did not name the Palestinian groups, PA leaders have accused Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command of dragging the Palestinians into the fighting in Syria. Jibril’s group has long been supportive of the Syrian regime and its members are said to be fighting alongside the Syrian army.

Agha said that all 400 Palestinian victims were killed in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus.

Human rights activists in Syria said that that 18 Palestinians were killed on Wednesday when the Syrian army used artillery to attack Yarmouk. The activists said that four women and three children were among the victims.

Meanwhile, representatives of Palestinian refugees who fled from Syria to Jordan complained that the PA was not doing anything to ease their suffering. In a letter to the PA leadership, the refugees said that the PA Embassy in Amman was refusing to extend any type of assistance to them. They also said they have been forced to seek help from international aid organizations and the Jordanian authorities in light of the PA’s failure to help them.
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