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Fighting between Palestinians near Damascus

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On Wednesday April 1, 2015 at Yarmouk Palestinian camp in the outskirts of Damascus, a ceremony was held, organized by the Syrian Ministry of Reconciliation.

However, the camp was attacked by elements from the nearby village of Hajar al-Aswad, allied with some ex-militants of Hamas who first joined the Al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) and who have now joined Daesh.

During several hours, heavy fighting between Daesh and the various Palestinian militias, including their former comrades of Hamas. By late evening, the jihadists controlled most of the camp. But during the night, the Syrian Arab Army deployed reinforcements and Daesh withdrew completely.

The "Yarmuk" and "Palestine" camps are not tent camps or slums as in other Arab states, but concrete cities, built to Syrian standards. Traditionally, the Syrian Arab Republic administers them in link with Palestinian political parties.

At the end of 2012, militiamen loyal to Hamas Khaled Meshaal allowed jihadists from the Al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) and Israeli Mossad officers into the camp in an attempt to assassinate the leaders of Fatah and the PFLP [1] . The Syrian Arab Republic immediately, via SMS, called the 160 000 inhabitants to flee. 120,000 of them had been relocated within 48 hours in schools and hotels of the capital. The Syrian Arab Army had then stormed the camp with the support of the Palestinian Authority. Ultimately, as a result of heavy fighting and a terrible siege, a political agreement had led to "freeze" the camp where 18 000 people remained. Yesterday’s ceremony should have marked the reconciliation between firstly the Syrian Arab Republic, the PFLP and Fatah and the other branch of Hamas and the al-Nosra elements.

For two years, Palestinian groups opposed to the Syrian Arab Republic attacked any food supply convoys entering the camp, confiscated the goods and then sold them at 3.5 times their price to the other inhabitants of the camp. To feed itself the population is thus forced to join these groups which then pay them a salary in dollars.

The Gulf press has launched a propaganda campaign accusing the Syrian Arab Army of starving and bombing the Palestinians, as Israel does in Gaza.

Syria is the only Arab state to provide absolute legal equality for Palestinians and free access to its schools, its universities and its social services. Several generals of the Syrian Arab Army are Palestinians.

[1] “Mossad agents in the Al-Qaeda unit that attacked the Yarmouk camp”, Voltaire Network, 2 January 2013.

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