Group: 8 Palestinians killed in Syria's Yarmouk and Khan al-Sheikh
Published Tuesday 14/01/2014 (updated) 21/01/2014 13:57
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Syria-based group on Tuesday identified a number of Palestinian refugees who have either died of hunger or have been killed in two refugee camps near Damascus in recent days.
The workforce for the Palestinians in Syria said in a statement received by Ma'an on Tuesday that 80-year-old Jamil al-Qurabi, 40-year-old Hasan Shihabi and a 50-year-old woman identified only as Noor had died of malnutrition in the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in recent days.
The group added that 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh, 19-year-old Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji were shot dead while participating in a rally protesting the ongoing blockade on the camp.
The deaths come amid a number of attempts by the PLO to deliver supplies to the blockaded camp that have been thwarted by militant groups inside.
Separately, Muhammad Ibrahim Dhahir from Khan al-Sheikh refugee camp southwest of Damascus died of torture in Syrian regime custody.
Additionally, Hasan Younis Nofal was killed by an explosive barrel which landed near his house in the camp.
The group quoted locals in Khan Al-Sheikh camp as saying that two explosive barrels had landed in the camp.
Locals highlighted that the attack was unexpected given that no militant groups are currently operating in the camp, and they expressed their fear that the Yarmouk camp crisis might be repeated in Khan Al-Sheikh.
On Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that 41 Palestinians had died so far as a result of food and medicine shortages.
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.
Fatah leader Abbas Zaki told Ma'an in October that Yarmouk's population of 250,000 had dwindled to 18,000 after two and a half years of conflict in Syria.
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.
More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants -- were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.