Ramallah, 18 Jumadil Akhir 1436/7 April 2015 (MINA) – Amid calls initiated by the Palestinian Authority and talks with Arab, International and humanitarian parties to interfere and put an end to the ongoing slaughter of helpless Palestinian refugees in al-Yarmouk refugee camp, PLO Executive Committee Member Saeb Erekat said that the situation is a reminder of Palestinians’ right to return.
In a press statement that WAFA received on Sunday quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporing, Erekat stressed that the humanitarian disaster is a reminder of the need to realize the inalienable right of return for all Palestine refugees, in line with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
“The tragedy unfolding in Al-Yarmouk shall remain a testament to the collective human failure of protecting civilians in times of war,” Erekat said.
Erekat called upon international bodies including the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Syrian government to take all necessary measures to immediately evacuate the camp’s refugees.
“Time is quickly running out,” Erekat said.
International and local media reported on witnesses in Al-Yarmouk refugee camp saying that the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had taken over large parts of Al-Yarmouk refugee camp, almost 90 percent, and were threatening to control it completely.
“The camp, besieged by (Bashar) al-Assad regime forces for the last year, had fallen under the control of the Syrian rebel jihadist group Nusra Front. NBC-TV quoted an eyewitness saying Nusra Front was fighting alongside ISIS, which stormed the camp from the Hajar Aswad neighborhood immediately south of it,” said Haaretz.
Meanwhile, Erekat reiterated that the persecution and slaughtering of Palestinian refugees continues in a conflict that isn’t theirs.
“Affirming the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinians ongoing policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, Al-Yarmouk refugee camp continues to be the victim of the internal Syrian conflict nonetheless,”said Erekat.
Activists on social media reported on ‘kidnappings, beheadings and mass killings are coming out from Al- Yarmouk, which is under a brutal campaign of murder and occupation at the hands of the terrorist group of Daesh and its allies.’
Erekat affirmed that the priority of all must be to save the unarmed and helpless Palestinian refugees in the camp by creating a safe passage for them out of the refugee camp.
Prior the Syrian civil war, 160,000 Palestinian refugees resided in the camp. However, a total of 18,000 refugees remain trapped in what Erekat described as a “death trap”. According to media and witnesses, refugees of Al-Yarmouk are now settling in different refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and others in Syria, making them refugees for one more time.
Erekat said that the PLO, through its envoys, has been trying for years to lift the siege. “For over 700 days, the camp has been the victim of a draconian siege, which has resulted in the death by starvation of at least 200 Palestinians,”. (T/P007/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)