A new report by Amnesty International claims that the Syrian regime is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinian and Syrian civilians in the refugee camp of Yarmouk, on the outskirts of Damascus.
But the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians scarcely attracts international attention. Critics claim that media organisations, world leaders, and representatives from around the world are more concerned with minutiae over Israel than the stark situation in Syria.
“Life in Yarmouk has grown increasingly unbearable for desperate civilians who find themselves starving and trapped in a downward cycle of suffering with no means of escape,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
“Civilians of Yarmouk are being treated like pawns in a deadly game in which they have no control.”
Amnesty’s report, ‘Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk: War crimes against besieged civilians‘, highlights that government forces and their allies have repeatedly carried out attacks, including air raids and shelling with heavy weapons, on civilian buildings such as schools, hospitals and a mosque in Yarmouk.
The camp has also had its electricity power supply cut since April 2013.
The Times of Israel’s Middle East Analyst Avi Issacharoff said that Yarmouk was the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria where around 150,000 people lived. There are now only 20,000 people left in the camp.
Issacharoff writes: “The siege arouses no international indignation, in stark contrast to reactions to the nonexistent siege around the Gaza Strip. Occasionally, reports are published on what happens in the camp, and still, the international community has allowed Assad to carry on with one of his cruelest campaigns against the opposition”
“And the world is silent. Even those in Israel who raise a clamor over a few hours’ delay in the delivery of a sack of rice to Gaza ignore the atrocity. As long as it’s Arabs killing Arabs, who cares?”
In January, the United Nations announced it would stop updating its death toll in Syria as sources could no longer be verified. Over 100,000 are believed to have been killed in the conflict since 2011 with thousands being Palestinians civilians.
Just under 200 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2009, usually as the result of collateral damage to buildings in which terrorists store munitions.