Palestinian civilians stranded in Yarmouk Camp in southern Damascus. File photo
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Damascus, Syria – On Monday, clashes resumed between rebels of the Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis and militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIl) in the Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian refugees in southern Damascus.
Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis is considered the largest organised armed Palestinian militia inside the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. However, al-Maqdis has lost major parts of Yarmouk after IS militants stormed the district and took over nearly 80% of it, according to military sources in Damascus.
According to the Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, “the Aknaf Bait Al-Maqdis brigades launched an attack against the IS-held Salah Al-Din mosque, leading to clashes between both parties in the area.”
The IS has been backed by militants of al-Nusra Front (Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda) during the clashes.
The Palestinian Action Group warned that the situation in the besieged camp has worsened with the distribution of food and medical aid and the Syrian regime’s continued bombardment against the camp.
In Yarmouk, more than 18,000 civilians –mostly Palestinian refugees– have suffered years of bombing, army siege and militia control.
The IS control of Yarmouk gives the group a major presence in the Syrian capital. Consequently, the Islamic State is now only a few kilometers from President Bashar al-Assad’s seat of power.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi