Palestinians in Syria 'not human shields'
Published Tuesday 14/01/2014 (updated) 19/01/2014 09:36
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO executive committee member Ahmad al-Majdalani said Tuesday that the people of Yarmouk refugee camp would not be used as "human shields" in Syrian fighting.
Al-Majdalani, who is part of the presidential delegation to Syria, said that “the kidnapping of Yarmouk camp by terrorist militias is a war crime; it is a brutal and inhumane crime against humanity”.
He said in a news conference in Syria that using Palestinians politically will not serve any political purposes.
The official added that supplies were prepared to be entered into the camp, and patients, children and elders were planned to be evacuated through a safe route. However the convoy was targeted 100 meters from the gathering point, he said.
Al-Majdalani added that the source of the shooting was the area controlled by extremist militias.
“We coordinated with the Syrian authorities to solve the ... issue, disarm the camps and return their safe environment,” al-Majdalani said, explaining that this “political effort is not related to the efforts to relieve Palestinian camps”.
Some 300,000 Palestinian refugees left their camps, including 100,000 who left Syria altogether since the start of the conflict, he said, while 600 refugees drowned while attempting to flee by sea, he said.
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.
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.