Syrian Rebels Seize Damascus Refugee Camp as Palestinians Flee Fighting

Camp 'More Than Half Empty,' According to Reports

by Jason Ditz, December 17, 2012

Rebels linked with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have taken “full control” over the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital city of Damascus today, following fighting between rebel-armed Palestinians and the pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) fighters.

Yarmouk has been contested for months, but the fighting appears to have turned decisively in the last 48 hours, with a Syrian military air strike against the camp yesterday sparking panic and a mass exodus from the area.

At this point, reports from the PLO say that the camp is more than half empty, with the refugees fleeing the camp to take refuge in nearby schools and mosques. The camp houses 150,000 refugees, roughly a third of the nation’s Palestinian refugee population.

PLO spokesman Anwar Hadi blamed the exodus on the FSA attack, saying they had entered the camp in large numbers and chased the civilians out. The rebels, of course, insisted that the air strike was solely to blame. For the fleeing Palestinians, it is most likely a combination of the two.

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