European Palestinians protest against Yarmouk tragedy

European Palestinians protest against Yarmouk tragedy
Groups call on international community for action to be taken in support of besieged Palestinians in Yarmouk camp, which has been overrun by armed groups.
3 min read
07 April, 2015
Protests continue in support of the residents of Yarmouk [Anadolu]

The humanitarian and medical situation in Yarmouk camp in Syria is catastrophic, according to reports by Palestinian human rights groups and media networks. The situation has deteriorated since the camp was invaded by the Islamic State group (IS) on 1 April. However, little has been done by the international community to cope with the tragedy.

This has led organisations like the Palestinian League for Human Rights (PLHR) to criticise the Palestine Liberation Organisation's weak response to the situation in the camp, and to call for international intervention to stop IS's aggression and help those trapped.

Palestinian solidarity groups in Europe have appealed for support for those still there. They have called for safe passages and humanitarian corridors to be set up via government-controlled checkpoints, so humanitarian aid and medicine can be distributed.

On Saturday 4 April, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists from around the world appealed to the international media to break their silence. They said: "Today we, the children of Palestine and supporters of its cause in every part of the world, stand together in support of the cause of Yarmouk and its people who right now are fighting to be rescued and for their camp to be cleared of IS terrorists."

     In Italy and other parts of Europe, Palestinian, Arab and European activists marched in the streets wrapped in Palestinian flags .

A Palestinian solidarity organisation in Italy called Association of Palestinians in Italy (API) appealed to Italian politicians on Sunday 5 April for: "A concrete and immediate step to protect civilians in Yarmouk." According to the UN about 18,000 civilians remain trapped in Yarmouk, including many children. API also invited civil societies around the world to organise demonstrations in support of the camp's starving and frightened residents. "We ask MPs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Senate to support civilians with all possible means," API said.

The Italian organisation also called for sit-ins in Genoa, Milan and Rome to show solidarity with the besieged camp. It is also organising events along with other European humanitarian organizations, to raise funds for an aid convoy to that will leave in the coming days to take medicine to refugees in Yarmouk.

"Many people are taking part in the convoy. This is important because the larger the group the better protection there is against being abducted by IS”, the organisers explained. Dozens of Palestinians and Syrians in the camp have already been abducted, according to sources in the PLO.

In Italy and other parts of Europe, Palestinian, Arab and European activists marched in the streets wrapped in Palestinian flags. They handed out leaflets explaining the situation in Yarmouk: "We want to raise awareness of the disaster taking place, which is largey being ignored by the international media and politicians," they said.

Ongoing clashes have stopped humanitarian aid being distributed to civilians trapped in the camp. They lack access to electricity, drinkable water, medical services and proper food. Several residents have already died and the mental and physical health of those remaining is suffering.

Most Palestinians in Syria are refugees from historical Palestine who fled Israeli advances in 1948. Despite international resolutions, Israel has refused to respect the rights of Palestinian refugees and return their land and property.