Syria: Refugee camp mostly destroyed in latest shelling
01 May, 2018, 09:16 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
State news agency SANA said government forces and their allies pushed deeper into the nearby Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood that is controlled by IS.
The camp is in a strategic location near one of the main southern roads into Damascus and rebel forces have often used it to shell government areas in the centre of the city.
The army said it had made advances and killed dozens of militants.
Implementation is expected to begin on Monday and is scheduled to be complete before the start of Ramadan on May 15.
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Among the fighters present in Yarmouk are those from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, and Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra.
It did not say which rebel groups were included, but a rebel source said the deal was with the militant Tahrir al Sham, spearheaded by Syria's former al Qaeda offshoot, which has about 200 fighters in the camp.
ISIS has held parts of Hajar al-Aswad and Yarmuk since 2015 and seized Qadam last month.
It has shown no sign of letting up since Western countries launched air strikes on April 14 to punish the government for a suspected poison gas attack. The last remaining hospital in Yarmouk was bombed and can no longer offer care to the sick and injured.
"Yarmouk was a refugee camp that had already been transformed into a death camp, and even in that state it has just experienced a week of really intense fighting", said Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), the agency for Palestinian refugees.
Fighting in the camp broke out in 2013 as some Palestinian factions sided with the Syrian regime and others with the rebels.
Yarmouk is not the only Palestinian refugee camp that has endured violence during the war.
Ahead of the battle against IS, the terror group was offered a deal to evacuate to the remote part of the Syrian desert, as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, which controls nearby areas such as Babila and Yalada, will evacuate to rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Those rebels who have in the past fought both the militants and the Syrian army have also been targeted by the army in an attempt to force them to capitulate. The Syrian military placed the camp and the surrounding area under siege.
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