PFLP-GC: ISIL re-enters Yarmouk camp
Published Friday 07/03/2014 (updated) 09/03/2014 10:43
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant re-entered the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp on Thursday, two days after al-Nusra Front did the same, a PFLP-GC spokesman said.
PFLP-GC spokesman Anwar Rajaa said in a statement that ISIL militants had returned to the Damascus camp on Thursday, adding that they detained and "abused" several Palestinians upon arrival.
Aid distribution in Yarmouk camp has been suspended intermittently for the last month due to fighting, while residents suffer from widespread malnutrition amid the effects of a crippling siege by Syrian regime forces that has been in place in last summer.
Raja said that ISIL's actions blamed Saudi Arabia for the Wahhabi militant group's actions, arguing that they were intended "to pressure Syria, and ruin the reconciliation by abusing the Yarmouk camp and endangering its citizens."
Although both ISIL and al-Nusra front subscribe to a Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic that is ideologically affiliated with Saudi Arabia and counts many Saudi fighters among its ranks, the kingdom has not admitted direct ties to the group.
The PFLP-GC, a militant organization that has been operating in Syria for decades, has been an active force on the side of the Assad regime since 2012.
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.
Thousands have fled the camp, while the remaining residents -- who are estimated to number around 18,000 -- have faced extremely severe conditions in recent months, with reports that dozens have starved to death.
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.