Abbas to UN: Let Palestinians in Syria enter W. Bank, Gaza

PA president appeals to UN to intervene, allow thousands of Palestinians from Syria to enter W. Bank, Gaza to escape fighting.

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December 20, 2012 04:40
2 minute read.
Palestinians wait outside Lebanese immigration.

Palestinians in Syria, woman with child 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jamal Saidi)

 
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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday called on the UN to intervene to allow thousands of Palestinians from Syria to enter the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Abbas’s appeal came after thousands of Palestinians from the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus fled in recent days to Lebanon because of the fighting between the Syrian army and rebel forces.

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Earlier this week, dozens of Palestinians were killed when Syrian jets fired rockets at the camp.

The Syrian authorities said they attacked the camp after hundreds of “terrorists” entered it in the past few days.

Abbas said that the Palestinians do not intervene in the internal affairs of Syria or any other Arab country.

However, a radical PLO member group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, has been fighting alongside the Syrian army against the rebels, according to Palestinian sources.

The sources said that more than 700 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, home to nearly 500,000 Palestinians.

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Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf said that his faction was prepared to receive the Palestinian refugees if Israel allows them to enter the West Bank.

“This is a sacred right and an urgent humanitarian case,” Assaf said. He was speaking during a sit-in strike in Ramallah in solidarity with the Palestinians of Syria.

He said that 90 percent of the camp’s residents have fled their homes in the past few days because of the fighting.

PLO leaders in the West Bank have accused the Syrian authorities of perpetrating massacres against the Palestinians.

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The leaders accused the PFLP-GC, which is headed by Ahmed Jibril, of “selling itself to the devil” by directing its weapons against fellow Palestinians.

Jibril denied that he and his family had fled to Lebanon or Iran.

He told reporters that some 400 militiamen belonging to the Syrian opposition were now in control of the Yarmouk camp. He said that he instructed his followers to withdraw from the camp to avoid further bloodshed.

Jibril reiterated his support for the Syrian government, which, he added, is facing a “conspiracy to topple the regime.”

On Wednesday, another 60 Palestinian families from the Yarmouk camp crossed the border into Lebanon to escape the fighting.

More than 2,000 Palestinians have fled from Syria to Lebanon since the beginning of the week.

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