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  • Residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus March 11, 2015.

    Residents queue up to receive humanitarian aid at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus March 11, 2015.

Published 6 April 2015

About 18,000 Palestinians are trapped in the Yarmouk refugee camp, located near Damascus, the capital of Syria.

Islamic State group militants had nearly taken full control of the Yarmouk refugee camp Monday, which according to activists is under ongoing bombardment and fighting, which has left many dead, as the extremist have place snipers on various rooftops. Palestinian fighters have attempted to repeal the militant attack, but have not been successful. 

The Yarmouk refugee camp, which is about 5 miles away from the center of Damscus, the Syrian capital, has been under siege by different extremist groups for the past two years due to its proximity to the capital.

The spokesperson for the U.N. refugee agency, Chris Gunness, told news outlets that the U.N. agency has not been able to get basic goods into the refugee camp since the fighting was renewed last week.

"That means that there is no food, there is no water and there is very little medicine … The situation in the camp is beyond inhumane,” Gunness said. “People are holed up in their houses, there is fighting going on in the streets. There are reports of ... bombardments. This has to stop and civilians must be evacuated."

Fighting began Wednesday between Palestinian militants and the Islamic State group. A couple of thousand people fled Yarmouk last weekend, however another 18,000 Palestinian civilians are still trapped in the refugee camp.

A few years ago, before the Syrian civil war, Yarmouk was a prosperous neighborhood of 160,000 Palestinians and Syrians, most of whom have left the area due to the war.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 26 people have been killed since the current battle began.

In contrast, Al Arabiya news agency reported that local medical workers have said that about 200 people had been killed in the past few days. Palestinian officials told Al Jazeera that there were many unclaimed corpses lying in the street.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the PLO had created a "cell to handle this tragedy and they are trying to work it out with the least losses … We are in touch with our brothers there to find a way out and protect our people."


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