Date
25 March 2017
People wait to collect food aid distributed by a UN agency at the Yarmoukrefugee camp in this file photo. Islamic State has now seized control of most parts of the camp, fueling concerns about the safety of the inmates. Credit: Reuters
People wait to collect food aid distributed by a UN agency at the Yarmoukrefugee camp in this file photo. Islamic State has now seized control of most parts of the camp, fueling concerns about the safety of the inmates. Credit: Reuters

IS seizes Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus

Islamic State fighters stormed a vast Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday, capturing large parts of the camp and gaining a major foothold near the Syrian capital.

The jihadists launched a lightning assault on the Yarmouk refugee camp, seizing control from other militants, according to Reuters.

The camp, which was home to half a million Palestinians before the Syrian conflict began in 2011, has been held by anti-Assad insurgents and besieged by government troops since the early days of the war.

It is a few kilometers from the heart of Damascus, which is still firmly in control of the government led by Bashar al-Assad.

The United Nations said it was extremely concerned about the safety and protection of Syrian and Palestinian civilians in the area.

It estimates the current population of Yarmouk at about 18,000, with most of its residents having long since fled.

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RC

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