Residents of Yarmouk (illustration)
Residents of Yarmouk (illustration)Reuters

Islamic State (ISIS) forces this week have taken over the Yarmouk neighborhood in southern Damascus, which is popularly known as a "Palestinian refugee camp," with reports indicating ISIS has been conducting arrests and acts of mass murder.

Representatives of the Islamic nationalist forces in Gaza, which are a confederation of the various Palestinian Arab groups, met with the Islamic Jihad headquarters in Gaza, after which an announcement condemning the activities of the "armed gangs" was published without listing ISIS by name.

The Islamist nationalist forces in the statement said that ISIS in Yarmouk is committing "genocide and harming the refugee problem and their right of return (to Israel)."

The mention of "right of return" refers to the fact that the residents of Yarmouk are the descendants of Arab residents of Israel who left the country during the 1948 War of Independence. Roughly 800,000 of the so-called "Palestinian refugees" left, whereas 850,000 Jewish refugees were forced out of Arab lands in the same time period, although their plight has received no international fanfare.

The statement called on the "armed gangs" to immediately withdraw from Yarmouk and release the captives.

In the statement, the Gaza representatives expressed their support of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) delegation that was sent to Syria on Monday to try and help residents of Yarmouk.

ISIS beheaded at least one senior Hamas figure in Yarmouk, which was largely under Hamas influence. The jihadist group views Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations as enemies, because they do not fully embrace jihad according to ISIS's definition and have not been immediately imposing Islamic Sharia law.

That enmity has seen expression in Gaza, where ISIS has expressed its intentions to depose Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).