After the ISIS raid on the Yarmouk camp near Damascus, the Jihadist militant group might have made another enemy. Some of the Palestinians from Syria’s refugee camps are ready to take arms against the Islamic State, while the Palestine Liberation Organization made yet another call to its people to stay out of the conflict.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that the situation in Yarmouk is on the brink of humanitarian disaster, as more than 18,000 Palestinians are trapped in the camp between Syrian and ISIS forces, struggling with malnutrition and dehydration. “What is unfolding in Yarmouk is unacceptable,” Ban warned. “We simply cannot stand by and watch a massacre unfold.”
Other UN officials fear even worse can happen. Christopher Gunness, representing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, argued that fighting has been intensifying in the camp since about a week ago, when the first clashes began. His forecast is gloomy, as the UN spokesman thinks that unless something is done quickly to rescue the refugees they “are being turned into human shields.”
The Yarmouk camp lies just south of Syria’s capital Damascus, and is the foremost point controlled by Islamic State militants in the country, only a few miles away from President Bashar al-Assad’s residence. According to latest reports, ISIS controls about 60 percent of the camp, but Yarmouk is slowly becoming a battle zone between government forces and Jihadists, with both factions preventing civilians from fleeing the area.
The sieging of the camp had a great emotional impact on Palestinians everywhere, and on Thursday Ahmad Majdalani, PLO’s envoy to Syria, claimed his people is ready to join the fight against ISIS. Majdalani, labor minister on the West Bank, claimed an official agreement has been reached between the leadership in Damascus and all the Palestinian factions to launch coordinated attacks against the Islamic State outposts across Syria.
However, as of now it is still unclear to what kind of cooperation Majdalani was referring to. Any potential PLO involvement in the Syrian civil war was quickly denied by other organization officials. The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is a known long-time advocate of not taking any sides in the military clashes between the various factions fighting for control in Syria.
The military cooperation between Assad and the Palestinian refugees becomes even more problematic after considering other facts. The Palestinian community in Syria is itself divided regarding its support for the Syrian regime – some of them fiercely oppose the governments, while other groups remained loyal to Assad. In the communiqué issued by Syria’s official news agency, Sana, it was specified that any collaboration between refugees and government forces will only be restricted to the Yarmouk camp, while remaining silent on suggestions of a broader alliance between the two.
The Yarmouk refugee camp was established in 1957 for Palestinians forced to flee Israel after the defeat of the Arabs in the 1948 war. Most of the 160,000 inhabitants began to flee at the when Syrian civil war broke out. Those who stayed behind were either too poor or too weak to leave, and now they trapped between two armies fighting against each other.
Image Source: Wars in the World
Latest posts by Alan O’Leary (see all)
- Woman Found Alive After Missing for 42 Years - Oct 30, 2017
- October Will Welcome The Draconid Meteor Shower And The Orionids - Oct 6, 2017
- Scientists Are At A Loss After Unearthing A Porpoise Grave - Sep 22, 2017