PLO: 'Chaos' in Yarmouk as armed rebel groups return
Published Saturday 08/03/2014 (updated) 10/03/2014 10:18
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The return of militants from the rebel groups al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to Yarmouk camp in Damascus has brought back tension and "chaos," a Palestine Liberation Organization official said on Saturday.
PLO Executive Committee member in charge of refugees affairs Zakariyya al-Agha said in a statement on Saturday that the return of the rebel armed groups in violation of an agreement reached with PLO factions had brought the besieged refugee camp back to chaos and conflict.
Al-Agha stressed that as a result of the entrance of the groups it had become very difficult to secure the entrance of humanitarian aid into the camp, which has been under a siege by regime forces since last summer.
PLO officials are exerting as much efforts as they can to try and avoid further complications in order to avert an even worse crisis, he added, highlighting that militants from different affiliations were being urged to leave the camp.
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.