Ceasefire at Syria’s Yarmouk camp: PFLP-GC

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) announced March 31 that a ceasefire agreement was reached in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp. Husam Arafat, a PFLP-GC leader based in the West Bank, said in a statement that an agreement had been reached between Palestinian factions and other militant groups in the Damascus camp. Under the terms of the agreement, all non-Palestinian militants are to leave Yarmouk and "joint forces" are to be sent to take control of the camp. The statement did provide further information about the "joint forces."

The ceasefire—which was reached between 14 Palestinian factions and representatives of other militant groups stationed in Yarmouk—came into effect March 30, the statement said. UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said that 280 food parcels were delivered to the camp that day.

After rebels seized control of the Palestinian refugee camp in December 2012, the camp became embroiled in the armed fighting taking place across Syria and came under heavy regime assault. Regime forces eventually encircled the camp and in July imposed a siege on the camp, leading to a rapid deterioration of living conditions. Fatah leader Abbas Zaki told Ma'an in mid-October that Yarmouk's population of 250,000 had dwindled to 18,000 after two and a half years of conflict in Syria. The UN Agency for Palestine refugees has managed to deliver sporadic shipments of humanitarian aid to Yarmouk since January, in between periods of fighting in the camp.

The Syrian conflict, which began as peaceful protests in March 2011 but developed into a civil war, has killed more than 130,000 people and prompted millions to flee their homes.

More than 760,000 Palestinians—estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants—were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.

From Ma'an News Agency, March 31


  1. New ceasefire at Yarmouk

    After previous ones broke down, a new ceasefire has been announced at the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus—this one including the Syrian regime as well as Palestinian factions. Both food and medicine are in scarce supply in Yarmouk and large parts of the camp and surrounding suburb lie ruin. For the past two weeks, the United Nation's agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has been unable to distribute food because of continued clashes and shelling. (BBC News, June 22)

  2. Yarmouk camp one month without aid: UNRWA

    The United Nations agency charged with ensuring the well-being of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East has warned today that, despite reports of a truce between the Syrian government and armed groups inside Yarmouk camp, it is still unable to carry out humanitarian operations there. "It is now a month since we last distributed aid inside the camp," Chris Gunness, spokeman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said in a news release June 28. "Following reports of a 21 June agreement… inside Yarmouk, UNRWA is urgently seeking the resumption and expansion of its humanitarian activities inside [the camp], where conditions remain dire for the 18,000 civilians trapped there." (UN News Service, June 30)