IS in command of Palestinian refugee camp in Syria

IS in command of Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
The Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria has been seized by Islamic State militants, who have captured control of the territory held by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front.
2 min read
13 April, 2016
Islamic State militants first captured the camp in April 2015, forcing thousands to flee [AFP]
Islamic State [IS] militants stormed a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, seizing territory held by Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate.

"IS began attacking positions of its former ally al-Nusra and took control of 60 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp," the Palestine Liberation Organisation [PLO] chief in Damascus, Anwar Abdel Hadi said on Tuesday.

"Some Nusra fighters joined [IS] ranks," he confirmed, adding "IS then besieged the last remaining Nusra positions and demanded that they leave the camp."

At least three civilians were killed in the clashes between the militants, London-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed.

Earlier this week, residents of the camp called on international human rights organisations to save them from Islamic State militants after days of clashes.

"We call on the PLO, the Palestinian factions and UNRWA to shoulder their responsibilities towards the ongoing suffering in the camp and not to bury their heads in the sand when we haven't heard a word from them about the current tragedy in the camp," read a statement.

Once home to an estimated 160,000 Syrians and Palestinians, Yarmouk has witnessed widespread violence since 2012 when a siege was imposed on the camp by the Syrian army.

Read Also: Voices from Yarmouk

Shortages of basic supplies, including food and medication, led to the death of many.

Islamic State militants, in alliance with members of the Nusra Front, captured parts of Yarmouk in April 2015 but faced resistance from Palestinian factions and pro-government forces.

An estimated 6,000 civilians remain in Yarmouk alongside at least 3,000 IS fighters.