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Civilians to take charge of Yarmouk in latest bid to end bloodshed

Feb. 11, 2014 12:32 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 12, 2014 10:08 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A purported deal to end the siege on Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria will require the al-Nusra Front group to leave the camp and for Palestinian groups to withdrawal to a new region, an official said Monday.

Ayman Abu Hasham, director of the Palestinian Refugees Support Network in Syria, said Palestinian armed groups would be required to withdraw to the al-Reja area of Yarmouk.

Non-Palestinian groups like the al-Nusra Front will leave the camp entirely, he said.

Abu Hasham told Ma'an that 150 civilians, 75 from the camp and 75 Palestinians from outside it, will take charge of services in cooperation with other factions as well as the Palestine refugee agency UNRWA.

He expressed optimism that the agreement would be more successful than prior deals which accomplished little.

Hundreds of patients, injured people, children and pregnant women have been evacuated in recent days from Yarmouk to hospitals in nearby neighborhoods.

The movement’s foreign relations officer in Syria Muhammad Abu al-Qasim told Ma’an on Monday that “every Palestinian refugee who wanted to leave the camp was evacuated.”

About 100 people are being evacuated every day. Elderly men and women and patients suffering chronic diseases are evacuated by ambulances. However, there hasn’t been any group migration, he confirmed.

Abu al-Qasim added that 800-1,000 food parcels weighing 30 kilograms each were being distributed in the camp every day. The humanitarian aid, he said, is funded by the PLO, President Mahmoud Abbas’ office, Japan and Kuwait.

“Nobody will be out of food as humanitarian aid will continue to flow into the camp thanks to coordination between the Palestinian and Syrian Red Crescent societies, Syrian officials and the PLO,” he pledged.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society confirmed that hundreds of patients, children and elderly people were evacuated from the camp after cooperation with the Syrian Red Crescent and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

The Red Crescent highlighted that dozens of volunteers joined its teams who worked in the camp. Serious cases were evacuated to al-Mazza Hospital in the Damascus outskirts which is affiliated to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
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