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Syrian rebels kill 10 pro-Assad Palestinian militiamen

Nov. 7, 2012 1:14 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 9, 2012 12:56 P.M.)
AMMAN (Reuters) -- Syrian rebels killed 10 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a faction loyal to President Bashar Assad, on Wednesday in clashes near a Palestinian camp in Damascus, opposition sources said.

Fighting between the two sides has escalated in the last few days in 'Street 30' and Hajar al-Aswad near Yarmouk, a camp inhabited by 150,000 Palestinians and as many Syrians. Syrian army artillery and warplanes have bombarded rebel positions in the area, the opposition sources said.

On Monday, Syrian government forces shelled a bus killing seven Palestinians in Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, locals said.

Palestinian officials insist that refugees in Syria are not involved in the deadly war rocking the country, citing security concerns for the vulnerable refugee population if they are perceived to take sides.

But Syria's uprising has split Palestinian loyalties, with many ordinary Palestinians sympathetic to the uprising by their fellow Sunnis, and others recalling the Syrian government's long-support for Palestinians.

A youth activist told Ma'an on Monday that Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were working together to provide assistance to residents of Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria.

Syrian rebels and anti-Assad Palestinians announced the formation of a new brigade last week to battle the PFLP-GC.

The Syrian foreign ministry said Damascus would stand "with full determination against any attempt to drag the Palestinians into what is happening in Syria," the state news agency SANA reported, quoting a ministry official.

President Mahmoud Abbas has asked both the United Nations and Russia, one of Assad's last remaining allies, to work to protect Palestinians in Syria, the official Palestinian news agency reported.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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