Joint Palestinian security force deployed at Ain al-Hilweh

Joint Palestinian security force deployed at Ain al-Hilweh
2 min read
25 September, 2023
A Palestinian security force has been deployed at the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon following clashes that resulted in 30 deaths.
Ain El-Hilweh has been wrecked by violence [Getty]

A joint security force representing multiple Palestinian factions has been deployed in Ain al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon, in a move that could smooth tensions at the refugee camp.

Ain Al-Hilweh, home to around 80,000 of Lebanon's nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees, witnessed fierce clashes between the Fatah movement and Islamist groups this month, leaving at least 30 people dead. 

A spokesperson for Fatah in Lebanon told The New Arab's Lebanon correspondent that "the joint security patrol started today in Ain al-Hilweh".

The Fatah movement is affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas while the Islamist groups include Jund Al-Sham ("Army of the Sham region") and Al-Shabab Al-Moslem ("The Muslim Youth"). 

The firefights, which occurred between 7 and 14 September, preceded a similar of outbreak of violence at the camp in early August. A ceasefire announced on 14 September is still holding.

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The joint security force commenced operations in the camp on Monday morning, according to the Lebanese newspaper L'Orient-Le Jour following a meeting chaired by its commander, General Mahmoud Ajoury, outlining the deployment details. 

The force will patrol the "two critical areas of the camp" - the neighbourhoods of Hattine-Ras El-Ahmar and Safsaf-Baraksat which witnessed the fiercest fighting this month.

"If this initial deployment proves successful, attention will shift to the UNRWA school complex," he told L'Orient-Le Jour, hinting at a possible second phase in the operations. 

Under the now-defunct 1969 Cairo Agreement, the Lebanese military has historically been prevented from intervening in the country's Palestinian refugee camps. Instead, security is maintained by a host of Palestinian factions.