DAMASCUS, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian refugees in Syria held Thursday a massive rally at the entrance of the Yarmouk camp in the capital Damascus, pushing their return to their homes after days of displacement due to intense fighting there.
The rally came against the backdrop of the violence that has hit the camp with the presence of armed rebels and forced thousands of Palestinians to flee for their lives.
Local media said that the Palestinians started moving back homes during the rally in tandem with the rebels' withdrawal.
The massive rally was called for by many Palestinian organizations in Syria.
The armed rebels, backed with some anti-Syrian government Palestinians, pushed into the camp earlier this week and fought pitch battles with armed local committees affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General-Command ( PFLP-GC), a pro-Syrian government Palestinian faction.
The rebels managed to sweep the camp, igniting deadly fights there.
Yarmouk houses some 1,600 refugees, which is also a house to more than 500,000 Syrians.
Local observers blamed the rebels and the al-Qaida-linked al- Nusra Front for the deteriorating situation in the camp. The anti- regime forces in Syria has sought to control the camp in a bid to pave the way to claim more ground in Damascus and to push further from there.
As the camp news eclipsed local and Arab news, talks of ongoing negotiations have grabbed the headlines Thursday.
A member of the PFLP-GC told the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV on Thursday morning that negotiations with the rebels with the mediation of many organizations are ongoing, which aim to pull all arm aspect from the camp and allow the displaced refugees to return to their homes.
He said the recent talk was for the rebel forces to withdraw from the camp and in return the pro-government armed Palestinian committees will also pull out.
The negotiations have been triggered a day after the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations to allow the Palestinians in Syria to return to the Palestinian territories due to the ongoing violence in Syria.
The right of return for the Palestinians has for long been in debate amid Israeli rejection. Observers believe that Abbas's request will push the West to practice pressure on the rebels on ground to solve the situation in the Yarmouk camp and avoid new international frenzy about the right of return.
The latest Palestinian camp issue came as a continuation of the simmering violence in Syria with both the rebels and army seeming unable to settle the situation.
Earlier on Thursday, Damascenes in the southwestern part of the Damascus were woke up by the rattling drumbeat of shells that were apparently aimed at the troublesome suburb of Daraya, a hotspot in Syria's 21-month crisis.
The rebels have been massing up in Daraya since last month to wage a large-scale offensive on Damascus. However, the Syrian army managed to repulse the attack and launched a counterattack against Daraya.
The pro-government al-Watan daily said Thursday that the army was dealing with remnants of armed groups in Daraya, adding that it would settle the situation within hours.
It said Turks, Asians, Libyans, and Saudis were among the fighting rebels there.
DAMASCUS, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army dealt "deadly blows" to the armed rebels in the southern suburbs of the capital Damascus on Wednesday, the state-media said, as violence continued at the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk.
The Syrian troops continued on Wednesday its operations in the Damascus' suburb of Daraya, hunting down "terrorists" from the al- Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front, the state-run SANA news agency said, amid reports that Daraya, a scene of intense fighting over the past month, will be purged from armed rebels in the next few days. Full story
DAMASCUS, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian refugees in Syria, who have opted out of the Syrian crisis for the past 20 some months, have eventually been, willingly or unwillingly, dragged into the crisis and are now on the horns of a dilemma of either a renewed displacement or be part in the confrontation between the Syrian government and rebels.
Amid reports that the Syrian army is making preparedness to enter the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus soon in hunt of opposition armed groups, the camp, which harbors both Syrians and Palestinians, has witnessed over the past few days a massive exodus.Full story