Hamas called on Saturday for an immediate end to armed clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk on the outskirts of Damascus. The deputy leader of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement said that the organisation is following the situation in Yarmouk “closely and with deep concerns”. Ismail Haniyeh called for the refugees in the camp, and other Palestinians in Syria, to be side-lined from the ongoing civil conflict.
Another member of the Hamas political bureau, Izzat Al-Reshiq, condemned the “vile aggression” against Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk, which “aggravates” an already dreadful situation. “This adds to the suffering and pain caused by hunger and thirst, disease, bombing and murder,” he insisted. He called for an international effort to save the refugee camp from the ongoing attack and lift the lengthy blockade.
On Wednesday, ISIS and Al-Nusra Front militants stormed the besieged Palestinians in Yarmouk. Forces loyal to the Syrian regime are also shelling the camp. Many Palestinian refugees have been killed.
During the four-year civil war, the refugee camp’s population has shrunk from approximately 150,000 to just 18,000; thousands have fled to neighbouring countries or other areas of Syria.
Conditions in the camp have deteriorated since 2012 as the Syrian regime has imposed a strict blockade, putting severe restrictions on the entrance of food, water, fuel and other essentials. Refugees have been eating plant leaves and a number have starved to death.