Aid finally enters besieged refugee camp in Damascus
January 19, 2014 - 6:23:28 am
DAMASCUS: Food aid entered the besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria yesterday for the first time in four months, a Palestinian official and Syrian state media said.
The delivery of food comes after reports that dozens of people in southern Damascus camp have died of hunger and lack of medical care, and a UN warning that blocking aid may amount to a war crime.
“A first batch of food aid entered successfully this morning and distribution to residents has begun,” Palestine Liberation Organisation official Anwar Abdul Hadi said.
Abdul Hadi said Syrian authorities helped facilitate the delivery, which was a trial run and “further batches will be delivered successively from tomorrow.”
He said the delivery was made possible after an agreement was reached on Friday between representatives of Palestinian factions and rebels in the camp.
“The delegation will continue holding discussions on the return of the camp’s residents and the evacuation of gunmen from it,” he said.
“A number of sick and injured persons will be evacuated from the camp tomorrow morning with help from the Syrian Red Crescent within the framework of the settlement,” Abdul Hadi added.
Syrian state media also reported the delivery, citing a second Palestinian official.
Yarmuk has been largely under the control of opposition forces for months and government troops have imposed a suffocating siege that was tightened in September.
Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, told AFP that the agency had donated 200 food parcels to be delivered to the camp through an intermediary.
He was not able to confirm whether the parcels were delivered during the operation.