The Assad regime is now said to be in full control of the Damascus area for the first time since 2012, with the fall of Yarmouk, the long-besieged Palestinian refugee camp outside the capital. Under another “surrender deal,” resistance fighters were allowed to flee to rebel-held Idlib governorate in the north, although those apparently affiliated with ISIS were provided transportation to unspecified locations in Syria’s eastern desert. It is clear that many of the camp’s civilian residents are also choosing to evacuate, fearing reprisals from the regime. Some 7,000 have been displaced from camp, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Some of these had already fled to pockets of rebel control around the Damascus area which have since also fallen to regime forces, and their fates remain uncertain. Reports are already emerging of looting and pillaging of abandoned properties by regime troops and their militia allies. (MEM, Al Bawaba, Madamasr.com, Action Group for Palestinians of Syria)
Photo: UNWRA via Al Bawaba
‘Sectarian cleansing’ by Assad forces documented
A new report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) finds that the Assad regime and its collaborationist forces have carried out at least 50 massacres "of a sectarian nature" from March 2011 to February 2018, killing nearly 3,100 people. Of those killed, 3,028 were civilians including 531 children and 472 women. (MEM, May 17)
This grim news loans credence once again to the reality that that the evacuation deals are being made under implicit threat of genocide, and constitute forced population transfers and "sectarian cleansing."