by Palestinian League for Human Rights/Syria
30 April 2015, (Sweden)
The Palestinian League for Human Rights – Syria expresses its deep concern about the renewed military offense on Yarmouk refugee camp by Syrian Government Forces. On 28 April, Syrian helicopters dropped at least 10 barrel bombs over civilian areas, in addition to launching surface-to-surface missiles targeting highly populated locations in the camp.
Since the beginning of the ISIS ground assault on Yarmouk in early April, the Syrian regime has used aerial bombardment extensively. More than 50 barrel bombs have been used so far. However, on 28 April, Yarmouk witnessed an especially fierce bombardment. The targeted locations were Ain Ghazal and Mashoru’ areas.
This bombardment campaign comes following a period of a few days of relative calm. However, this worrying development also comes a few days following the statements of Bashar Al-Jafari, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, cited by SANA, the Syrian Arab News Agency: “there are only 1000 people in the Camp not 18000 as some allege” , in addition to the statements of Ahmad Majdalani, PLO envoy to Damascus, saying that the political solution: “we were seeking with the parties controlling Yarmouk has stopped until further notice”, which might be interpreted as further support for a possible military operation.
In an effort to refute the claims of both officials, on 26 April, residents of Yarmouk organized a demonstration under the slogan: We Are Here to Remain…in Yarmouk. The estimated number of participants exceeded 1000 of the 14,000 remaining residents, including people from all ages and hundreds of children.
PLHR-Syria contacted several participants in the demonstration who expressed their fear of the Palestinian and Syrian official statements. They emphasized that at least 10,000 civilians are still trapped in Yarmouk and all statements to the contrary are misleading. By minimizing the presence of civilians in Yarmouk, they actively encourage the commission of further war crimes against the civilians there, crucially including the continued targeting by barrel bombs, an inherently indiscriminate weapon whose casualties in Yarmouk PHLR-Syria has documented in previous statements.
Photos via Yarmouk Camp Offline Page on Facebook