A youth initiative in the Gaza Strip called “I am with them” organised on Sunday a sit-in in solidarity with the starving Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk camp in Syria.
A number of Palestinian families who returned from Syria took part in the sit-in, raising posters reading: “Stop the crimes against the Palestinian refugees in Syria.” Some posters also described the suffering of the refugees who are experiencing a scarcity of electricity, food and drinking water.
Since the conflict in Syria broke out, tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees have been forced to flee the Yarmouk camp, just south of Damascus. Forces loyal to the Syrian regime placed the remaining residents under a blockade in December 2012. In recent months aid agencies have had difficulty accessing the camp and dozens have now died of malnutrition.
Nada Odwan, a member of the initiative, called what is happening in Yarmouk a “crime against humanity”. She appealed to UN officials to “do their real job” and help save the vulnerable women, children and elderly in the camp.
Describing how the Palestinians in Gaza feel about their brothers and sisters in Yarmouk dying of malnutrition as a result of the siege, the coordinator of the initiative Mostafa Matar said: “Palestinians in Gaza live in enduring agony because of the news about the starvation in Yarmouk. We are experiencing a siege ourselves and we know exactly what it means on the ground.”
Palestinian parliamentarian Isam Odwan has called upon the armed militias in the camp “to unconditionally leave as soon as possible” in order to end “the crime” of collective starvation.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad