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PLO officials in Syria for talks on refugees

Feb. 10, 2013 3:46 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 11, 2013 7:08 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A high-level PLO delegation arrived in Damascus on Sunday to discuss the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria, a PLO official said.

Zakaria al-Agha, a Fatah official and Chairman of the PLO's Refugee Affairs Department who is heading the delegation, said they will meet with Syrian officials, faction representatives in the Palestinian camps in Syria, as well as officials from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The visit aims to secure the return of Palestinians to their homes. Many have fled Syria, or been internally displaced, as the fighting between the Syrian army and opposition forces spread into the camps.

Al-Agha said the PLO wants to help improve Palestinian-Syrian relations, and find a way to keep Palestinians out of the conflict.

The PLO delegation will also visit Lebanon to assess the situation of the Palestinian refugees who fled across the border there.

Al-Agha said they will discuss ways to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian refugees and to provide a decent life for them until they return to their camps inside Syrian territory.

The delegation also includes PLO member and PA minister Ahmad Majdalani and Mahmoud al-Khalidi, the Palestinian ambassador to Syria.

In November, the PLO said that around 600 Palestinians had been killed in the Syrian conflict.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948.
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