Yarmouk residents in crisis as regime blockade persists


October 22, 2014

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WATER WARS: Residents of the Yarmouk camp south of Damascus have been without drinking water for more than 40 days since the Assad regime reportedly cut off the camp’s access to water, according to the London-based pro-Palestinian Action Group for Palestinians in Syria.

“We want to drink water,” reads the sign that one resident of the predominantly Palestinian camp holds up in a picture posted on social media on Wednesday.

The camp is currently encircled by regime forces, while various rebel factions control different areas of the sprawling mini-town inside. There have been three attempts at truces, the last of which was agreed upon in June of this year. That truce was broken by fighting between battalions in the camp and Syrian forces, with both sides accusing each other of violating the agreement.

Islamist battalions, including Jabhat a-Nusra, now control the camp from inside. The regime controls the entrances to the camp, however, and have arbitrary cut off humanitarian access to the residents.

Prior to the war, Yarmouk was home to 160,000 Palestinians and Syrians. After nearly two years of siege during which access to water, food and medical supplies was cut off, the number has whittled down to less than 20,000.

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For water, “nearly 20,000 camp residents depend on the little that is produced by the camp’s wells and must be transported home on a daily basis,” said Mohammad Ayoub, a Yarmouk resident, as reported by pro-Palestinian news agency Felesteen.

Activists in the camp say that a number of easily communicable diseases has begun to spread throughout the camp.

Relief organizations occasionally bring in containers of water when they are allowed into the camp, but the water does not last for long.

Earlier this year, the regime had blocked food distribution in Yarmouk from humanitarian aid organizations for six weeks.

-October 22, 2014

-Photo courtesy of YarmoukCampNews and @___fn2 

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