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Group: 142 refugees have died in Yarmouk since June

April 5, 2014 10:33 A.M. (Updated: April 6, 2014 4:34 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Syria-based monitoring group said Saturday that it had recorded the deaths of 142 people in Yarmouk refugee camp from hunger and lack of medical care since June 2013.

In a statement, the Workforce for Palestinians in Syria identified the most recent victim of a regime-imposed siege on the Damascus camp as Rushdi al-Madani, who died Friday of "hunger and dehydration."

Humanitarian aid to the camp has been limited throughout the bouts of fighting, but 500 food parcels were allowed to enter the camp on Friday, the statement said.

It added that the nearby neighborhood of Khan al-Sheikh was bombarded Friday, especially its west side, which was seriously damaged.

Meanwhile, Daraa refugee camp in southern Syria also witnessed fierce clashes in recent days between rebels and the Syrian army. The clashes limited residents' freedom of movement, the statement said.

After rebels seized control of the Palestinian refugee camp in December 2012, Yarmouk 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.
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