Civilians risk starvation at Damascus camp: UNRWA

This citizen journalist image shows a man on a bicycle surveying a street damaged by tank treads after fighting between rebels and Syrian troops in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in south Damascus, Syria, Saturday, July 21, 2012. (AP)

The United Nations said on Saturday civilians faced starvation and dehydration in a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, where ISIS is battling other Islamist groups for control.

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) which aids Palestinian refugees across the region said it estimated up to 10,000 civilians were trapped in their homes in Yarmouk, which is on the southern outskirts of Damascus.

“Whatever supplies of food and water they had have long been exhausted. Given the frequently intense fighting, the overwhelming risk of serious injury and death prevents civilians from leaving their homes to search for food, fetch water, or seek medical treatment for injuries,” UNRWA said in a statement.

“Credible reports from inside Yarmouk indicate extensive, deliberate fire-damage to homes and other civilian buildings on a scale hardly seen before. The precarious security situation also prevents UNRWA from continuing its humanitarian missions to the adjacent area of Yalda,” it said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based organization that reports on the war, says most of Yarmouk camp is now under the control of ISIS.

UNRWA said: “The fighting has been intense, and is taking place in the most densely populated areas of Yarmouk, with the use of heavy weapons, explosive devices and weapons of indiscriminate effect.”

Last Update: Saturday, 16 April 2016 KSA 20:05 - GMT 17:05