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Syrian security forces 'warn Palestinian camp'

March 15, 2012 11:05 A.M. (Updated: March 17, 2012 6:59 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Sources in Damascus say Syrian security forces threatened to raid the Yarmuk refugee camp due to Fatah's alleged support of demonstrations against Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

“Yarmuk is not more precious than (Homs neighborhood) Baba Amro, and it will be raided if the demonstrations which Fatah movement organizes” continue, a security agent was quoted as saying.

Syrian security forces have detained a number of Fatah members: Ayman Juda Abu Ala, public action official in Yarmuk, Jihad Abu Yousef, Abdul Wahed Kherma, Firas Tahmaz, and Amjad Sadya.

The claims could not be independently verified from outside the country, but Syrian forces have at times harshly attacked Palestinians over the course of an uprising against Assad's regime. In August, a bloody campaign against the coastal town of Latakia killed dozens of Palestinians.

The Syrian government, the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation team will begin a joint humanitarian assessment of besieged towns in Syria this weekend, the UN aid chief said Thursday.

The mission, after a year of bloody turmoil in Syria, will be led by the government and "observe first-hand the conditions in various towns and cities," Valerie Amos said in a statement.

The announcement came as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office said Assad's crackdown on a revolt had killed "well over 8,000" people.

The government blames foreign-backed militants for the deaths of more than 2,500 members of the security forces.

Amos repeated calls for the government to allow unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to enable them to help "in a neutral and impartial manner."

The joint team will go to Homs, Hama, Tartous, Latakia, Aleppo, rural Damascus, Deraa and other towns. Idlib, most recently the focus of a Syrian government offensive against rebels, was not listed in the statement.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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