Photo: Anadolu Agency
Photo: Anadolu Agency

Ramallah, 15 Rajab 1436/4 May 2015 (MINA) – Over 3,500 Palestinian children are stranded in Syria’s flashpoint Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has said.

“There are some 3,500 children stranded in the camp, while the sick and the elderly continue to die from lack of medical care,” UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha said during a Sunday (3/5) press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Mshasha said that some 90 percent of Yarmouk’s 180,000 Palestinian residents have fled the camp – which continues to see violent clashes between Daesh militants and Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis militant group for over a month, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

Moreover, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime forces routinely drop barrel bombs on the beleaguered camp, according to the UNRWA.

“The situation in Yarmouk camp is indescribably tragic,” Mshasha said.

“The UNRWA has repeatedly urged the Syrian regime to stop striking the camp indiscriminately with highly-destructive barrel bombs which results in civilian casualties as well as massive destruction.”

Militants affiliated with Daesh – a militant group that has overrun vast territories in both Iraq and Syria – entered Yarmouk camp in early April, prompting clashes with Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis militant group inside the camp.

Several international humanitarian organizations have said they were incapable of offering aid to around 18,000 residents who were unable to leave camp as clashes rage on between the two militant groups.

Syria has been ravaged by a deadly civil war since 2011, when al-Assad regime violently cracked down on anti-government demonstrations.

More than 220,000 people have been killed in the conflict to date, according to the latest UN figures.

Prior to the conflict, Palestinians living in Syria were estimated at some 581,000 – one third of whom had been living in the Yarmouk camp, according to the UN.

In recent years, however, as the conflict between Assad’s forces and armed opposition groups raged on, thousands of Palestinians in Syria have fled to neighboring Lebanon and Jordan, while hundreds of others have fled to the Gaza Strip.

Around 166 Palestinian refugees starved to death in mid-2013 when Syrian regime forces besieged the Yarmouk camp.(T/P008/R03)


Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)