Palestinian Refugee Camp Attacked By Syrian Government

The Yarmouk Camp, a Palestinian refugee camp near Syria’s capital, was attacked by Syrian government forces. One of the neighbourhoods targeted in the attack was the Hajar Al-Aswad, an allegedly Islamic State controlled neighbourhood. The attacks were part of a greater plan of the Syrian government to retake rebel territory. Bashar Al-Assad, the current president of Syria has been on a purge to completely rid the nation of rebels and rebel controlled territory. According to a local news source, the Syrian army allegedly killed hundreds of Islamic State terrorists on May 5th, most of whom resided in the Hajar Al-Aswad neighbourhood.

This particular camp, once home to 200,000 inhabitants, was created in 1957 in order to host refugees fleeing from the Israel-Palestine crisis during creation of new state. They have been unfortunate collateral damage caught in the crossfire between a rogue government, terrorist organizations and helpless civilians. The war has caused most of them to flee to neighbouring territories. The Yarmouk camp “has been under a government-imposed siege since 2012”. The conditions of the camp during the height of the war were brutal in 2014. Operating under a food shortage, more than 180 civilians died of hunger and other illnesses induced by poor sanitation and hygiene.

This humanitarian struggle has caught the attention of the United Nations and numerous non-governmental organizations. The UN looks into its options to halt the attack, while NGOs try to provide aid to the numerous civilians that have been affected.

This war has its roots deeply embedded in religion as well as rogue demagogues that have completely transformed both Iraq and Syria into battlefields. Formally starting in 2011, the war has claimed and displaced numerous lives in the name of religion, resources and territory. The Syrian war is not only a fight between local governments and groups but also international ones. This war has long been a platform for the ongoing hostility between two P-5 nuclear adversaries: The United States and Russia. Russia has been helping the Syrian government while the United State has been funding rebel backed armies to overthrow the current regime. Idlib, a rebelled held city near Yarmouk is being shelled by Syrian and Russian warplanes so that the government can regain its territory.

Many living in the capital praise Assad’s efforts in ridding the country of the rebels. However, most of the inhabitants of Damascus are heavily fed state propaganda and are therefore made to believe that the government is doing more good than harm. Syria still remains a battle ground.

Aditi Mahesh