Members of a Palestinian faction linked to the terror group Hamas, backed by Syrian rebels, were able to retake large parts of a refugee camp in Syria that had been seized by Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists, according to a monitoring group.
Palestinian fighters and Syrian rebels in the Yarmouk camp in the Syrian capital Damascus “were able to regain control over all of the areas that ISIS had taken over,” reports the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
ISIS militants stormed the Palestinian refugee camp, bringing them closer to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s presidential palace.
ISIS was able to overrun “large parts of the camp,” according to the Observatory.
However, the Palestinian group, with the help of Syrian rebels, was able to retake control of the ISIS-held territory inside the camp.
“Syrian rebel groups entered the camp and helped the Palestinians push back ISIS in fierce clashes,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory’s chief, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).
ISIS was eventually pushed “to the periphery” of the camp by the Hamas loyalist group, said Anwar Abdel Hadi, director of political affairs for the Palestine Liberation Organization in Damascus.
As many as six people were reportedly killed, and 17 others were wounded in the clashes between the Palestinians and ISIS.
The Observatory notes that ISIS still holds “some areas” in the camp, adding that “the clashes between the two sides are still taking places [sic] on the outskirts of the camp.”
AFP reports that the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said it was “extremely concerned” about the safety of civilians in Yarmouk.
“UNRWA estimates that there are some 3,500 children among the 18,000 civilians living in Yarmuk. The intense armed clashes put these children at risk of serious injury and death,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP.
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