Syrian Fighting Hits Largest ‘Palestinian Camp’
Battles between Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebel armies raged in Damascus over the weekend. On Thursday, fighting hit Al-Yarmouk, a Damascus neighborhood that serves as an unofficial camp for roughly 150,000 people registered as Palestinian refugees.
At least 21 people were killed in the camp as Syrian troops used heavy fire to beat back rebels.
The mood in camps such as Al-Yarmouk has shifted in recent weeks, with an increasing number of Palestinians calling to topple Assad. During a recent protest in the Al-Yarmouk there were calls to murder Ahmed Jabril, who leads the People’s Front terrorist group, which is known for its close ties to the Assad regime.
The violence Thursday is expected to add to anti-regime sentiment.
Leaders of the “Palestinian refugee” community in Syria denounced the violence, and called on both sides not to involve the Palestinian refugees in the conflict.
Most people in Syria who are considered Palestinian refugees are Syrian-born, but are not considered Syrian, and do not have political rights. Their situation is better than that of refugees in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, where refugees have limited work options and are refused citizenship.