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Regime barrel bombs Yarmouk as fighting intensifies, civilians trapped

Regime helicopters dropped six barrel bombs on residential areas of […]

26 May 2015

Regime helicopters dropped six barrel bombs on residential areas of the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus early on Tuesday, reported pro-opposition El-Dorar, destroying residential buildings and trapping civilians under rubble.

A Yarmouk camp resident posted the above photograph on social media Tuesday, with the caption: “This was my morning, I couldn’t find my bedroom!”

The bombings coincided with regime mortar fire into the camp as regime forces and the regime-affiliated Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) battled Islamic State and Jabhat a-Nusra fighters at the edges of the camp, reported the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Tuesday.

“With the dawn call to prayer, two barrel bombs fell onto residential areas near the al-Wasim mosque in the north of the camp, followed by four barrel bombs on residential areas near the Palestine mosque at the center of the camp,” an activist within the camp using the alias ‘Free Palestine’ told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

“These areas are deep within the camp and are not military areas or conflict areas,” he added.

While Nusra continues to fight the Islamic State forces in other parts of Syria, the groups have been cooperating in Yarmouk camp. A Syria Direct report from April accounts how Nusra allowed IS fighters to enter the camp and subsequently attempted to block other rebel groups trying to enter the camp to fight IS.

Photos published by camp media sources on social media Tuesday showed efforts by residents to extract those trapped under the rubble in the aftermath of the bombing.

“Ten people were [buried] under the rubble, residents using only their hands were able to extract nine people, eight of them in good health and one injured. One person died under the rubble and residents were not able to save him,” the same activist told Syria Direct.

The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria estimates that IS and Nusra control approximately 70 percent of the camp’s 0.8 square-mile territory.

The group also reported on Monday that 13 Palestinians in the camp had died since the beginning of this month, primarily because of bombings and fighting.

Regime forces have besieged the camp, which hosted a population of more than 100,000 Palestinians refugees before the war, since 2012. Following IS’s invasion of the camp in early April, 18,000 residents were still living inside the camp.

According to a statement from Syria’s Minister of Media in mid-April, fewer than 6,000 people remained inside the camp.

-Photo courtesy of Yarmouk Camp Offline

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