PA, Syria agree to protect refugee camps
Published Wednesday 09/10/2013 (updated) 11/10/2013 12:29
Abbas Zaki and Bashar Assad met to discuss Palestinian refugees in
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian and Syrian leaders will cooperate to protect Palestinian refugees remaining in Syria, Fatah leader Abbas Zaki told Ma’an on Wednesday.
Zaki, a member of Fatah’s central committee, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad last week.
The two leaders discussed possible solutions to Syria’s two-and-a-half-year-old crisis along with issues such as refugee camps and Palestinian prisoners in Syria, Zaki said in a telephone interview.
“We agreed to create safe passages to refugee camps,” Zaki said.
He added that Palestine’s policy of non-intervention in internal Syrian affairs had protected Palestinian refugee camps within Syria from attacks by government forces.
Although Syrian rebels have entered camps in the past, Zaki said, the Syrian army has not.
“The circumstances of refugees in Syria are very difficult,” Zaki said, pointing to Yarmouk camp, the largest Palestinian refugee camp of the 14 in Syria, as an example.
“Of its population of 250,000, only 18,000 remain.”
He said that he and Assad agreed “to preserve these refugee camps as a witness to Israel’s historic crime.”
Over 700,000 refugees emerged from Palestine in the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli war and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
According to UNRWA, there are over 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.