Yarmouk residents: 'Save us from IS'

Yarmouk residents: 'Save us from IS'
As IS progresses through Yarmouk camp, outside Damascus, residents are becoming increasingly desperate.
3 min read
12 April, 2016
Residents of Yarmouk camp ask humanitarian organizations for aid [Getty]
A group of women from the south of Damascus have appealed to all relief and humanitarian organisations to save them from attacks by the Islamic State group who have been encroaching on their refugee camp for the past week.

The women accused the militant group of murdering and starving the civilian population in the camp in Syria's capital, saying that the group's leaders had attacked women, looted and burnt down homes.

They made a plea to armed groups to stop fighting between themselves to tackle the Islamic State group in the area.

Media activist Adam Shami told The New Arab that the Islamic State group managed to progress through the camp at the expense of the Nusra Front, the Syrian al-Qaeda franchise, with whom they have been fighting for the past five days.

Read more: Women in starvation-wracked Daraya demand the world's attention

Three civilians were killed in Yarmouk refugee camp on Monday as a result of the clashes. 

The clashes started on Thursday when IS militants launched a surprise attack on a Nusra checkpoint at al-Oruba on the outskirts of Yarmouk refugee camp.
Starving Syria
Surrender or starve in besieged Syria
Displaced Syrians begin hunger strike in solidarity with Madaya
Diary from Moadamiyeh, a besieged Damascus suburb
Social media reacts to the starvation of Madaya
Starved into accepting 'a political solution' in Syria
For many in Madaya, emergency aid is too late
Hizballah supporters taunt starving Madaya residents with pictures of food
British public petition government for Syria food drops
Convoys to deliver aid 'simultaneously' to besieged towns
Hundreds of Syrians need urgent evacuation from Madaya, says UN

The Syrian regime has also cut off water supplies from the camp for more than 500 days. The clashes have now prevented bottled water from being moved around the camp.

Residents from the area called on the Islamic State group and Nusra to halt fighting for six hours to give residents a chance to escape into safe areas and to re-supply families with food and medical needs.

They also called upon the Syrian regime and Palestinian factions to allow water to be pumped back into the camp - and not to be used as a weapon against civilians.

"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. 

The Nusra Front replied with a statement asking people not to listen to "rumours", and said they were defending the local people from IS militants.

The entrance of Nusra and the Islamic State group into the camp last year changed the tide in the camp, with some Palestinian factions who were previously fighting Assad - notably Hamas affiliate Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis - switching sides to join regime forces in fighting the militants.

In December 2015 a planned evacuation of Islamic State group militants from the camp was put on hold.

There was reportedly disagreement between the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front over the evacuation process, with Nusra fighters refusing to leave, while Islamic State militants were willing to be evacuated to the group's stronghold areas.