The Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus “lies today in ruins” following years of crippling siege and the onslaught the Assad regime launched to recapture the district in April.
“Yarmouk was once the thriving home of 160,000 Palestinians. Today it lies in ruins, with hardly a house untouched by the conflict, with hardly a single building that has not been destroyed or damaged, including the public health system,” said Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.
On top of the devastation, the Assad regime forces began looting what remained of the residential buildings inside the camp following a month-long campaign of ruthless bombardment and the displacement of the local population. Activists published photos and videos showing Assad’s militiamen looting furniture from civilian homes in the ravaged district.
Some 100 to 200 civilians, including elderly and sick persons unable to relocate, are still believed to be living in the devastated camp, Gunness added. The Assad regime earlier this week announced the end of the offensive on Yarmouk camp following an unofficial deal to flush ISIS militants out of the area.
The UNRWA called for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to those who remained in the camp in view of the dire humanitarian conditions they are living in.
The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) monitoring group earlier said that at least 33 Palestinian refugees were killed in the onslaught regime forces launched to recapture the Yarmouk camp. The Assad regime targeted underground shelters with vacuum bombs and barrel bombs.
In late April, 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. They stressed that “the onslaught on Yarmouk camp aims to eliminate the strongest evidence on the 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as the Nakba, thus doing the Israeli occupation an invaluable service.“
In a statement, the writers, artists and intellectuals condemned all “forces that stand on the side of the Assad regime and cover up its crimes against its people and against our people, including the crime of destroying Yarmouk camp no matter the pretext.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)