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Official: Hundreds face imminent death in Yarmouk camp
Published Friday 10/01/2014 (updated) 12/01/2014 11:08
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinian refugees in the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus face imminent death in the coming 10 days unless a safe supply line is opened, a Palestinian official told Ma'an Thursday.

Ayman Abu Hasham, director of the Palestinian Refugees Support Network in Syria, said that residents in the camp are eating grass in order to ward off starvation, which he says will kill hundreds if supply lines are not opened soon.

On Thursday, there was an attempt to transfer 300 patients from the camp to receive medical treatment but snipers from the Syrian government fired at them, injuring the director of a relief committee Fuad al-Omar, Abu Hashem said.

"Claims that there are militants in the camp are just to justify the siege," Abu Hashem said.

"According to international law, citizens must be protected by the military force controlling the area -- meaning the Syrian regime."

Any side which undermines initiatives to bring food into the camp are participating in the siege, Abu Hashem said, accusing the PFLP-GC and the Syrian government of blockading the refugee camp.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Ma'an Friday that "the profound civilian suffering in Yarmouk deepens, with reports of widespread malnutrition and the absence of medical care, including for those who have severe conflict-related injuries, and including for women in childbirth, with fatal consequences for some women."

"From a humanitarian perspective, Yarmouk remains closed to humanitarian access and remains a place where extreme human suffering in primitively harsh conditions is the norm for Palestinian and Syrian civilians living there. The imperative remains that that Syrian authorities and other parties must allow and facilitate safe and open humanitarian access into Yarmouk to enable us to assist civilians trapped there."

Electricity and heating have been absent in the camp for nearly one year and there is an infrequent supply of water, Gunness added.

After rebels seized control of Yarmouk in December 2012, the camp became embroiled in the armed fighting taking place across Syria and came under heavy regime assault.

Regime forces eventually encircled the camp and in July imposed a siege on the camp, leading to a rapid deterioration of living conditions.

The Syrian conflict, which began as peaceful protests in March 2011 but developed into a civil war, has killed more than 130,000 people and prompted millions to flee their homes.
1 ) Tobi / Swindon
10/01/2014 19:57
If a Palestinian is starved by a Non-Jew does he make a sound? Why isn't this reported any where?

2 ) Maureen / Australia
10/01/2014 20:20
How dare Israel usurp the Holocaust to justify the theft of Palestine while Palestinian refugees (refugees because of Western colonialism) are suffering in Syria! Palestinian refugees deserve the right to return to Palestine ahead of any so called 'Jewish settlers!'

3 ) southparkbear / usa
11/01/2014 00:50
good idea even though baseless of facts #2. let all palestinian come back to gaza and west bank and live on UNRWA gifts cause they have no economic stand on their own

4 ) @Tobi Jug / Swineton
11/01/2014 01:33
"Empty vessels make the most sound"...rather like you!

5 ) jenya / usa
11/01/2014 01:56
no. palestinians have no right to return to nowhere. Nobody asked them to flee in 1948. Palestinians who stayed in great israel I'm sure are having a little better life than in syria and instead of blaming israel who are helping people blame syrians who are killing your palestinians

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/01/2014 04:32
To Tobi #1: 'If a Palestinian is starved by a Non-Jew does he make a sound? Why isn't this reported any where?' It's being reported right here. In any case, given that the Jews drove the Palestinians into Syria, who is ultimately responsible for their starvation is a good question. Do you think the Jews would let these Palestinians back into Palestine?

7 ) Carson / Canada
11/01/2014 05:13
Maureen, what on earth are you blabbing about ? Also, right of return will NEVER happen. That would be demographic suicide for Israel

8 ) Robby / USA
11/01/2014 06:14
2 ) Maureen / Australia - so you justify what Syria/Arabs are doing to Palestinians by blaming Israel/Jews?

9 ) Adam Neira / Egypt
11/01/2014 08:34
Prayers for the residents of Yarmouk. A ceasefire must take root all over Syria. There is a specific move that will facilitate such an outcome. Montreaux will not do the trick. A city more central to the Middle East with more gravitas should be the venue for a conference "Syria and Middle East Emergency Polio Vaccination Program 2014" (SMEEPVP2014), Tent of Meeting required. International Peace Conference. Think "Treaty of Westphalia" set piece/time limited meetings plus ongoing deliberations.

10 ) Nancy / France
11/01/2014 09:31
@2 But they are Arabs, who should return to Saudi Arabia, to make their economy grow and the Saudi desert bloom.

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/01/2014 09:32
Hmm...well, let's look at this. Lebanon's already taken in 1.4 million Syrian refugees -- and it's a very small country that wasn't in too great of shape to begin with. Same applies to Jordan, to a lesser extent... I know: Israel! Israel's wealthy, the Palestinians are from there, and to date, it's taken in ZERO Syrian refugees. Time for the ol' Light unto the Nations to step up to the plate, I would say.

12 ) Sharon / USA
11/01/2014 09:33
@2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25687190 FYI, this was a ''holocaust''.

13 ) Hey Maureen from Australia / how do you feel about
11/01/2014 09:48
your govement killing Indonesian refugees without compunction? "Over the past month, the Australian navy has forced or towed at least two asylum seeker vessels back to Indonesia under the Abbott government’s so-called “turn back the boats” program. These highly dangerous operations, which could have led to the loss of lives, ".....Already, over the past 12 years—beginning with the October 2001 SIEV X tragedy, in which 353 refugees drowned—many hundreds have perished in the waters between Indones

14 ) Rene / US
11/01/2014 11:21
Does anyone know that government forces are responsible? All are being blamed each against another. I do know that some Palestinians living in Syria are joining one or another force. I know there are Palestinians who are fighting on the side of the government.

15 ) Doris Ann Torres / United States
11/01/2014 11:57
This is really horrific, families eating grass to ward off hunger. This is wrong. Why isn't this front page news? These families have to be removed from this area and taken to safety.

16 ) C Love / u.s
11/01/2014 17:11
Heyyy.....I am america and i say this is genocide! What does this matter to the status quo of what we are taught to be "morally authoritative" to the world. When we get back to our fat lazy lives not caring that people suffer from our beloved hands. We are all responsible.

17 ) Carol/Florida/ / USA
11/01/2014 17:59
I applaud Australia's "Turn Back the Boats". Allowing refugees into the country in order to get on Gov't assistance and then to show their graitude they hold demonstrations and smash the buildings there....Look at the problem the US had when allowing all the Cuban refugees here-huge increase in drugs and crime. So stay in your own country.

18 ) Robby / USA
11/01/2014 18:37
1 ) Tobi / Swindon - I get your point, but that is a cold thing to say. We are humans and should not celebrate peoples deaths, especially innocent ones.
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