The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has issued a statement in which it says it is "gravely concerned about the heavy gunfire from Syrian security forces in and around the Palestinian refugee camp situated in the El Ramel district of Latakia."
"According to reports from the camp, there is incoming fire from tanks which have encircled the area as well as fire from ships at sea," UNRWA said. "The camp itself has been hit and there are reports of deaths and casualties, though poor communications make it impossible to confirm numbers of those killed and injured."
"UNRWA condemns all harm to civilian life. We call on the Syrian authorities to order their troops to exercise maximum restraint in accordance with international law and ensure that Palestinian refugees and all civilians are unharmed. We demand access for humanitarian workers to tend to the injured and dying and we demand unrestricted access for UNRWA so that the Agency can resume its full services in the camp which have been severely affected by the unrest."
Latakia is Syria's principal port city, and is located in the northwestern part of the country.
UNRWA administers "refugee camps" for descendants of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who fled the Land of Israel in 1948. While Israel absorbed a similar number of Jewish refugees who fled from Arab lands in the same period, "Palestinian refugee camps" have been purposely left standing by Arabs for over 60 years as a means of pressuring Israel.