PLO Opposes Syrian Offensive to Retake Refugee Camp from ISIS

Disavows Top Official's Endorsement of Attack

There appears to be considerable debate among the top leaders of the PLO about the attempts to recover the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in metro Damascus, which ISIS has captured over the past week.

Earlier in the day, top PLO official Ahmad Majdalani announced that he “fully endorsed” a plan military offensive by Syria to oust ISIS. Even though Majdalani was appointed by the PLO to meet with Syrian officials on the matter, the PLO later issued a statement disavowing his statement, and saying they do not approve a military offensive against the camp.

ISIS fought both PLO and Hamas-linked forces for control of the camp and fairly quickly overran them. The takeover leaves ISIS forces just 3 miles from the Damascus presidential palace.

Syria’s concern is primarily for ISIS using the camp as a base to attack central Damascus, while the PLO’s concern is for the civilians still trapped inside the refugee camp.

The camp once had 200,000 residents, before the civil war, but various battles have dwindled that to less than 10%. The humanitarian situation was precarious even before the arrival of ISIS, which is only making matters worse.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of