Clashes Rage on between ISIL, Palestinians in Yarmouk
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Intense clashes continue between Palestinian armed factions and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists who have taken over most of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk near the Syrian capital, Damascus.
The ISIL militants stormed the camp on April 1, apparently in tandem with rivals from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, even though the two groups have fought bloody battles against each other in other parts of Syria.
The terrorists attacked Yarmouk, home to Palestinian refugees since 1957 and located on the edge of the Syrian capital, in an attempt to kill a reconciliation deal between Palestinian armed factions inside the camp and more moderate groups seeking to keep the site away from the crisis in Syria.
“In Yarmouk, there are many different armed groups. They do not want solutions. Nusra Front implements a foreign agenda just like ISIL. Nusra Front along with other extremists are the ones who facilitated the entry of ISIL from Hajar al-Aswad (district), into the camp,” said Abu Kefah Ghazi, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), in an interview with Press TV inside the camp on Saturday.
Members of a Palestinian faction called Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis are the main fighters engaged in ferocious skirmishes with ISIL in Yarmouk. They had signed a peace deal with rival Damascus-backed Palestinian groups before ISIL’s attack on the camp, Press TV reported.
Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis fighters are now battling alongside members of those pro-Syrian government Palestinian factions against ISIL terrorists.
Meanwhile, units of the Syrian army have beefed up their positions on the outskirts of Yarmouk to prevent ISIL militants from making any advances toward Damascus.
The UN says nearly 18,000 civilians, including a large number of children, are caught in Yarmouk.
ISIL was in control of the camp until 2014, when a deal with the Syrian government saw the group withdraw. The Syrian army has since then besieged the camp as it has turned into a major bastion for spreading anti-government militancy.
The turmoil in Syria has claimed the lives of over 215,000 people since March 2011, according to reports.
Over 3.8 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the crisis. More than 7.2 million Syrians have also become internally displaced, according to the United Nations.