The situation in Yarmouk Camp has continued to deteriorate. Photo: UNRWA/Rami Al Sayyed

UNRWA concerned about fate of thousands of Palestinians trapped in Yarmouk refugee camp

Jerusalem /PNN/

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it was “deeply concerned” about the catastrophic consequences of the escalation of fighting and its impact on the fate of thousands of Palestinian refugees in and around Yarmouk refugee camp, near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

“Yarmouk and its inhabitants have endured indescribable pain and suffering over years of conflict. We are deeply concerned about the fate of thousands of civilians, including Palestine refugees, after more than a week of dramatically increased violence,” a statement by the UN agency quoted UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl as saying.

The UN official said that UNRWA is ready to provide “urgently needed assistance to the population in and around Yarmouk, as soon as the security situation permits and access is granted”.

He explained that heavy shelling have destroyed thousands of homes where there is no running water and no electricity.

“The ongoing hostilities have caused deaths and injuries and the displacement of some 5,000 Palestinian refugees from Yarmouk camp to neighbouring Yalda area” the agency said, adding that there are “an uncertain number of civilians trapped in Yarmouk and urgently need a safe passage out of the camp”.

The Syrian forces have carried out heavy shelling against the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp since last Thursday and nearby areas controlled by Daesh.

The Palestinian Organisation for human rights said it has documented the death of 13 people until Tuesday, including a medic, as well as dozens of wounded civilians.

The group said in a statement that the shelling resulted in destroying Palestine Hospital; the only hospital in the conflict area capable of receiving the wounded.

Hamas appeals to warring parties in Syria not to involve Palestinian refugees

For its part Hamas movement appealed to the warring parties in Syria not to involve the Palestinian refugee camps in the current events there, Wednesday.

“The movement appeals to all parties not to involve the Palestinian people in the refugee camps in Syria in any of the events taking place there” said Abdel Latif Al-Qanoua, a Hamas spokesman.

“We must end the suffering of the Palestinians. They are refugees whose only aspirations and hopes is to return to their homes, cities and villages, which they were expelled from by the Israeli occupation” he added.

Local sources said Wednesday that about 20 civilians have been killed by the Syrian regime bombing against Yarmouk refugee camp, which is mostly controlled by Daesh.

According to UNRWA some 12,000 Palestinian refugees live in Yarmouk and surrounding areas, including 6,200 refugees who live inside Yarmouk refugee camp which has been under siege imposed by the Syrian regime since 2011.