UN calls for safe passage for Palestinians stuck in ISIS-held refugee camp in Syria

Islamic State's arrival in Yarmouk has given the jihadist group a significant foothold a few kilometers (miles) from President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

April 12, 2015 14:30
2 minute read.
Yarmouk refugee camp

Yarmouk refugee camp. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

DAMASCUS - The head of the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees called from Damascus on Sunday for safe passage for people wishing to leave the Yarmouk camp on the city fringes that Islamic State insurgents are trying to take over.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl and another senior UN official are in the Syrian capital to find ways to ease the plight of some 18,000 people estimated to be trapped in Yarmouk, which has been under government siege since 2013.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

A Syrian military source said the army was giving a chance for solutions aimed at resolving the situation in Yarmouk, which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said is "beginning to resemble a death camp."

Islamic State's arrival in Yarmouk has given the jihadist group a significant foothold a few kilometers (miles) from President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power.

Islamic State, which has already seized wide areas of eastern and northern Syria, has in recent weeks mounted several big attacks on regions closer to the main population centers of western Syria, both in government- and rebel-held areas.
ISIS completes takeover of Palestinian Yarmuk refugee camp

Ban said last Thursday that residents of Yarmouk were being "held hostage" by Islamic State militants and other extremists.

He also said they "face a double-edged sword - armed elements inside the camp, and government forces outside."

Islamic State moved into Yarmouk last week. Aided by fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, it has seized large parts of the camp from other insurgents based there.

Krahenbuhl visited a Damascus school where he met several dozen evacuees from Yarmouk. "We are very concerned of course about the survival needs of the people inside Yarmouk," he said.

"We called for a very clear respect for the civilians who are inside Yarmouk, we called for the possibility for civilians to temporarily leave in a safe way Yarmouk, to be able to be assisted outside. We will continue to call for this.

"We are thinking very strongly of how we can provide some form of assistance to the people who are inside," he added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the four-year-old civil war via sources on the ground, has reported army air strikes on the camp since Islamic State moved in.

The military source told Reuters that was "absolutely not true," adding: "We are waiting, leaving the space for solutions that safeguard the situation of the civilians and their situation."

Ramzi Ezzedine Ramzi, deputy to the UN envoy to Syria, told Reuters on Saturday he left a meeting with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad on Saturday "quite satisfied and confident that there will be very good cooperation."

Related Content

July 16, 2018
Mass protests sweep Iraq, target pro-Iran militias and parties