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Hunger Kills 48 Palestinian Refugees in Syria

Jordanian and Palestinian children shout slogans in support of Palestinian refugees under siege in Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus for over 170 days due to the ongoing violence in Syria, during a sit-in front of the Red Cross offices in Amman, Jordan. –Reuters

DAMASCUS, Jan 12 – Severe hunger in a besieged refugee camp for Palestinians in southern Damascus has claimed two lives, raising the death toll to 48 people killed, an opposition Syrian group said in a statement.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC), a coalition of 40 opposition groups, said Yarmouk camp has depleted its food supplies and medical materials after 180 days of it being encircled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, Al Arabiya News Channel reported. SRGC accused the Syrian regime for not allowing humanitarian aid to enter the besieged camp, which is home to an estimated 20,000 Palestinians.

Palestinian activists and journalists in reaction launched a nationwide campaign to pressure their government to help the starving refugees. “More than 60 TV, radio and other media outlets, in addition to hundreds of bloggers were working to expose over what is happening,” said Rami Mahdawi, a Palestinian activist and journalist.

“There were protests in different areas and cities [in the Palestinian territories]. The protests marched towards the Palestinian authority headquarters carrying their slogans to save Yarmouk,” he added. Efforts exerted by Palestinian officials to convince the Syrian regime to break the siege were futile.

Since 1957, the 2.11-square-kilometer camp became home for Palestinian refugees who were forced to leave their Palestinian birthplace occupied by Israel.

The camp was besieged because some Palestinian groups allied with Syrian rebel forces battling Assad’s forces. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has previously expressed alarm that it couldn’t deliver aid to camp’s residents.–IINA


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