A high-level Palestinian Authority delegation headed to Damascus on Sunday in a
bid to stop attacks on Palestinian refugees in Syria.
This is the first
time that a PA delegation has visited Syria since the beginning of the crisis
there two years ago.
Relations between the PA and the Syrian regime have
deteriorated in the wake of the Palestinians’ failure to support President
Bashar Assad in his war against the opposition.
Headed by top PLO
official Zakaria al-Agha, the delegation is expected to discuss ways of stopping
the fighting between Assad’s forces and the rebels in the Yarmouk refugee camp
Dozens of Palestinian residents of the camp have been
killed in fierce fighting that erupted between the two sides in recent
More than half of the camp’s 130,000 residents have fled their
homes in the past two months, according to Palestinian sources.
officials will ask both the Syrian government and rebels to withdraw their
forces from the camp and its surroundings in order to pave the way for the
return of the refugees to their homes, the sources said.
are also expected to ask the Syrian authorities to restore PLO-owned buildings
that had been confiscated by the Syrians over the past three decades.
Syrians had confiscated the buildings and handed them over to Damascus-based
Palestinian groups opposed to the PLO leadership.
delegation is also expected to visit tens of thousands of Palestinians who fled
from Syria to Lebanon because of the fighting.