The United Nations has expressed concerns over the deterioration of the situation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk near the Syrian capital, Damascus, as intense clashes continue between Palestinian armed factions and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.
“Never has the hour been more desperate in the Palestine refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus,” read a press release circulated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Sunday. “We demand that all parties exercise maximum restraint and abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians.”
UNRWA called on concerned States to urgently exercise their authority and influence in order to end the fighting in Yarmouk for the sake of civilian lives and to alleviate human suffering. Meanwhile, humanitarian access had to be increased and secure conditions established under which the agency would be able to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and civilians could be evacuated.
The agency said that the international community, including UN bodies, should be seized of the “critical situation” without delay and should ensure that all civilians are protected in accordance with the UN charter and international law.
The ISIL militants stormed the camp on April 1, apparently in tandem with rivals from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, even though the two groups have fought bloody battles against each other in other parts of Syria.
The UN says nearly 18,000 civilians, including a large number of children, are caught in Yarmouk. Over 90 percent of the camp is now under ISIL control.
“Men, women and children – Syrians and Palestinians alike – are cowering in their battered homes in profound fear, desperate for security, food and water, deeply concerned by the grave perils that may yet come, as hostilities continue,” said UNRWA’s press release.