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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Clashes Continue Between IS, Rebel Groups at Al-Yarmouk Refugee Camp

DAMASCUS – Fighting between the Islamic State and Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis, a Syrian Islamist rebel faction, have continued on Thursday at the al-Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus.

Speaking to the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, director of political affairs Anwar Abdel Hadi, in Damascus, said that clashes still continue to dominate the area.

In the clashes, IS is supported by al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, while Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis has the support of the members of the Palestinian group centered in the Gaza Strip, Hamas.

Abdel Hadi added that the combating factions within the camp had planned to sign a reconciliation agreement on Friday and hand over their weapons to the Syrian government in an attempt to end hostilities and alleviate the suffering of the 18,000 civilian refugees left in the camp.

“We do not know what went wrong to thwart reconciliation. What we are sure of is that the Nusra Front helped IS in the attack early on Wednesday to control the camp, although they usually fight each other,” said Abdel Hadi.

IS fighters raided al-Yarmouk by surprise on Wednesday, while the camp is located just three kilometers (five miles) from downtown Damascus, and took command of the southern half of it.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday that there are unconfirmed reports that Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis has succeeded in regaining control over most of the areas of al-Yarmouk, while IS still holds control over some areas.

Islamist insurgents took control of al-Yarmouk in December 2012, which has since become the stage for clashes between opposition groups and Syrian government forces backed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command.

 

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