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Abbas in talks to shelter Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria violence
Published Wednesday 19/12/2012 (updated) 21/12/2012 12:14
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Palestinian women who had been living in Yarmouk wait as Syrian and
Palestinian men queue to get their papers stamped at the Lebanese-
Syrian border in al-Masnaa Dec. 18, 2012. (Reuters/Jamal Saidi)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has contacted the UN and regional countries to try to find a solution for Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria amid fighting in a Damascus neighborhood, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Abbas wants the Palestinians in Syria to be able to return to Palestine to avoid the worsening conflict between President Bashar Assad and rebel forces, Nabil Abu Rudaineh told Ma'an.

The president is making intensive contacts with the UN secretary-general and Arab states to help the refugees, he said.

More than 1,000 Palestinian refugees crossed into Lebanon in the past 24 hours, a source at the Lebanese border said Tuesday. Residents in Damascus said hundreds of Palestinian families were trying to find shelter in the Syrian capital.

Over 150,000 Palestinians in Yarmouk, a suburb of Damascus, as well as thousands of Syrians living there, have come under heavy aerial bombardment in recent days, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said Tuesday.

Fatah said Wednesday that more than 800 Palestinians have been killed in Syria during the 21-month uprising.

UNRWA is housing over 2,600 displaced persons in its facilities and Damascus-area schools, and the number is growing rapidly, a UN statement said Tuesday.

The battle has pitted rebels, backed by some Palestinians, against Palestinian fighters of the pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Many PFLP-GC fighters defected to the rebel side and their leader Ahmed Jibril left the camp this week, rebel sources said.

Palestinian leaders in the West Bank insist that Palestinians are not involved in Syria's internal conflict, but have become increasingly outspoken as the fighting reached Yarmouk, the largest population center of Palestinians in Syria.

The Palestinian National Council condemned Jibril for involving Palestinians in the fighting, and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority blamed the Syrian regime for a strike on a Yarmouk mosque that killed 25 people on Sunday.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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1 ) saad geagea / qatar/france/ksa
19/12/2012 17:26
maybe ask march14th leaders

2 ) Reader / from Edmonton
19/12/2012 20:59
The leader of the state of Palestine wishes his people to return home. Sounds pretty good. This has to be something the Arab League can support. The re-settlement of the refugees in the UN recognized State of Palestine. Move over invader and make room.

3 ) JoeFattal / USA
19/12/2012 22:31
450.000 Palestinian refugees will fit nicely with 500.000 Israeli settlers. That's what Abbas need to do and I hope he gets them. Fight settlers with refugees.

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
20/12/2012 00:33
@ 2), N-O-O-O-O-O-O !!! ... GET THEM INTO THEIR OWN NATION, JORDAN/PALSTINE, N-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-W !!!!!!!!!!! HOW MUCH MORE PALESTINIAN HOLOCAUST IN SYRIA CAN THERE BE ?????? !!!!!!!!!! The PA HAS NO MONEY OR RESOURCES TO HELP THEM !!!!!!!! THE PA IS COPING WITH ENOUGH CRAP AS IT IS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! JORDAN/PALESTINE, TAKE ALL OF THEM IN NOW !!!!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU ????? !!!!!!!!

5 ) Reader / from Edmonton
20/12/2012 18:55
As a recognized state, Palestine will determine who is Palestinian. Not Israel, not anyone else. President Abbas, who is Palestinian?

6 ) Reader / EU
21/12/2012 11:10
Ya Yehuda, it doesn't matter how much you shout, Palestine is not Jordan, and Jordan is not Palestine. And don't worry, PALESTINE will take the refugees in, and PA has to (and hopefully will) cope with it.

7 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
21/12/2012 17:23
@ 6), O.K., then let me give you a brief history lesson. Jordan/Palestine IS the eastern part of total, historical (Ottoman Empire) Palestine. Go look at Mideast maps of, say, the 1800's (and before) and 1900 to approx. 1921-22. Palestine was that area on BOTH sides of the Jordan River. After the League of Nations gave the Palestinian Mandate to Great Britain (approx. 1921-22), the British then simply separated the eastern part, re-named it Transjordan (later to become Jordan) (cont.)

8 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
21/12/2012 17:35
because Trans- means "across from" and then applied the name Palestine to the remaining, western part (west of the Jordan River). So Mideast maps from, say, approx. 1922-23 and on show Palestine as only the western part of actually TOTAL Palestine. Then everything changed further when we established Israel (1948-49 and thereafter). When Jordan (which I justifiably refer to as Jordan/Palestine) gained independence (1946) approx. 2/3 of its population was Palestinian. Yes, back then (cont.)

9 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
21/12/2012 17:45
there were other ethnic groups (Arab Peoples; others) and presently the J/P Palestinian population is probably around 30 to 35% or so but nonetheless make no mistake about J/P's historical and present categorization as THE Palestinian nation. That's exactly where it comes from. Regarding refugee absorption from this Syrian Palestinian horror, the PA doesn't have to do a damn thing; it's overburdened as it is and coping with refugee absorption is the least of its responsibilities right now.
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