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UN 'shocked' by hanging of 2 Palestinians in Syria

March 5, 2013 10:44 P.M. (Updated: March 7, 2013 10:49 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Monday condemned the hanging of two Palestinians in a Syria refugee camp earlier this week, a statement said.

Last Friday, two Palestinian men were hanged in public on Palestine Street in Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, the UN agency said.

"UNRWA is shocked and distressed by these killings and the manner in which they were carried out," a statement said.

"International humanitarian law applies to all parties to the conflict in Syria and extra-judicial killings are in violation of that law. UNRWA particularly deplores the increased levels of fear and trauma these deaths will generate among Palestine refugees across Syria."

It is not clear who carried out the attack.

Despite repeated statements from Palestinian officials that Syria camps are neutral in the internal conflict, Palestinians have been adversely affected by fighting in the two year conflict.

In December, heavy fighting broke out in Yarmouk camp between Syrian rebels and the army, causing the large scale displacement of Palestinian refugees.

At least 20,000 Palestinian refugees have fled to Lebanon and endure difficult conditions, with limited access to basic services and cramped housing.

The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said this week that around 1,038 Palestinians have been killed in the 22-month Syrian conflict, which has claimed the lives of around 70,000 people and created hundreds of thousands of refugees, including Palestinians.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions.
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