Hundreds of Palestinians flee Syrian refugee camp after ISIS takeover

A Syrian human rights group said that Islamic State was now in control of 90% of the camp, where 18,000 Palestinians have been living under siege from the Syrian army over the past two years.

April 5, 2015 20:31
1 minute read.
Palestinians flee homes in Syria

Palestinians flee homes in Syria. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hundreds of Palestinians fled their homes in the Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus in the past 24 hours as Islamic State said it was now in full control there.

A Syrian human rights group said ISIS was holding 90 percent of the camp, where 18,000 Palestinians have been living under siege from the Syrian army over the past two years.

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Tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled the camp since the civil war began in Syria four years ago. Yarmuk was home to more than 100,000 Palestinians before the Syrian conflict erupted.

The PLO and Hamas said on Sunday that they were separately seeking ways to end the Islamic State has targeted since last Wednesday.
ISIS completes takeover of Palestinian Yarmuk refugee camp

Islamic State terrorists have executed several Palestinians, including senior Hamas operative Sheikh Abu Salah Taha, reports from the camp said.

Islamic State posted photos on Sunday of its fighters inside the camp. It also showed a photo of 13 men kneeling and facing a wall.

The organization has accused Hamas and other Islamist groups inside the camp of being “apostates.”

Islamic State spokesmen said their men have taken prisoner several members of Aknaf Bayt Al-Maqdis, a Palestinian Islamist group that led the fighting in defense of Yarmuk camp.

However, a spokesman for the 200-member group, Abu Hammam, said that his men were still fighting Islamic State terrorists inside the camp, and added that they had killed many Islamic State members during the fierce combat.

Some 2,000 Palestinians were evacuated from the camp to nearby neighborhoods over the past two days, the PLO said.

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat called for the evacuation of civilians from the battlefield.

“Reports of kidnappings, beheadings and mass killings are coming out from Yarmuk,” he said. “For over 700 days, the camp has been the victim of a draconian siege, which has resulted in the death by starvation of at least 200 Palestinians.

The PLO, through its envoys, has been trying for years to lift the siege.”

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said 94 civilians, including 43 women and 20 children, made it out of the camp on Sunday and were provided with humanitarian support.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian Air Force on Sunday dropped crudely made barrel bombs on the camp.

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