Syrian radical rebels storm Palestinian refugee camp

Photo: Syrian radical rebels storm Palestinian refugee camp / Arab World

Ultra-radical Syrian rebels stormed the Yarmouk camp of Palestinian refugees in the capital of Damascus, hindering the ongoing evacuation of thousands of its residents, a Palestinian official said Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

Armed "terrorist" groups of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant stormed houses in Yarmouk, kidnapping and detaining tens of people, Anwar Raja, the media spokesman of the Damascus- based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a statement.

He said the rebels' action hindered a recently-concluded deal with a number of armed rebel groups inside the camp, who agreed to a truce to allow the displaced people to return home.

No more details were given about the truce in the violence- ravaged camp after recent reports said armed groups had actually started withdrawing from the camp.

The Palestinian factions, with the help of the Damascus-based Palestinian Red Crescent, have managed to evacuate about 3,000 people from the camp and delivered many batches of aid rations to those still trapped there.

Syrian government forces have imposed a siege on Yarmouk for months, blocking the entry of food and medical supplies in a bid to drive out the rebels, who stormed the camp earlier last year and have since entrenched there in hopes of using it as a platform for attacks on Damascus.

The authorities accused the rebels, mostly al-Qaida-linked fighters, of using the civilians as human shield and causing them immense suffering.

The Yarmouk camp is a large district in southern Damascus. Among its one million residents, around 170,000 are Palestinians, most of whom fled to Syria in 1948 following the establishment of the Israeli state.

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