Syrian-Palestinian and Arab writers, artists and intellectuals have issued a humanitarian appeal to save Yarmouk camp from the systematic destruction being carried out by the Assad regime and its allies who have recently launched a major offensive against the Damascus suburb.
A statement issued by writers, artists and intellectuals said that the Assad regime is launching a ferocious assault on Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees backed by Russian aerial support. Onetime home to the largest concentration of Palestinian refugees in Syria, the camp has been under brutal siege for more than five years. The Assad regime is clearly seeking to destroy the camp house by house as it is determined to make it permanently uninhabitable.”
“This is not the first time that the Assad regime destroyed Palestinian refugees camps, an act which only serves the Israeli occupation, denies the Palestinian refugees of the right to return, and further worsens the suffering of the refugees,” the statement added.
The statement stressed that the Assad regime destroyed refugee camps even before the emergence of the ISIS extremist group when it helped the Kataeb Party militia destroy Tal Zaatar and Al-Dabbiya camps for Palestinian refugees in Beirut following its military intervention in Lebanon in 1976.
“The Assad regime is now destroying Yarmouk camp under the pretext of fighting ISIS despite the fact the district has been under crippling siege since late 2012.” The statement wondered as to how ISIS militants managed to enter the besieged camp, who supplied them with arms and money, and why the camp is being devastated to fight off tens or hundreds of ISIS militants who suddenly disappeared from the camp.
Signatories to the statement condemned all “forces that stand alongside the Assad regime and cover up its crimes against its own people and against our people, including the crime of destroying Yarmouk camp under false pretexts.”
The statement called on the Palestinian leaders to raise their voices and speak out boldly and openly against the actions of the Assad regime which has long traded with the Palestinian cause and conspired against all the Palestinian national movements. It also called for stopping the destruction of the camp, the release of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime, and enabling its people to return to their homes.
In November 2017, the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) said that it had documented the deaths of over 3,613 Syrian- Palestinians since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, including 463 women.
The British-based monitoring group said that the victims included 204 Palestinian-Syrians who died in the Yarmouk refugee camp in southeastern Damascus as a result of malnutrition and lack of medical care resulting from the siege regime forces impose on the area. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)