ISTANBUL – The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday urged immediate access to Palestinian civilians trapped under siege in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria.
Red Cross said in Istanbul that there was urgent need for action as the area was under fire from both government forces and the IS extremist group.
Yarmouk has been under a government imposed blockade since 2013 when rebel forces gained a foothold in the camp which is on the southern tip of the capital, Damascus.
Red Cross said in the last seven months humanitarian access to the area had been very limited.
“Humanitarian needs are growing by the day in the camp, which has been hard hit by four years of conflict and cut off from outside help for long periods,” it said.
Red Cross said more than 16,000 civilians were estimated to remain in the camp, adding that before the war, the camp was home to 150,000 Palestinians, refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
Amnesty International said more than 18 civilians had been killed over the past week as IS began their violent take-over of the camp.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
Hassiba-Hadj Sahraoui, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said life was an agonising for civilians still trapped in Yarmouk as they struggle for survival.
He said after enduring a crippling two year-long government-imposed siege, the people were now pinned down by sniper fire, fearing for their lives as shelling and aerial attacks escalate.
Meanwhile, Palestinian factions were holding talks in Damascus, with the hopes of creating a unity front to face the assault by the extremists.
Some factions have backed the Syrian government in the civil war while others are allied with rebel forces, but all say they are opposed to the IS.
A Palestinian who attended the meetings said on condition of anonymity that rival Palestinian factions have agreed to form a united force to confront and push back IS from the camp. (dpa/NAN)
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