|Visiting Palestinian Minister of Labor Ahmad Majdalani speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria on Jan. 14, 2014. Majdalani said that seizing Palestinian citizens as hostages inside the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp is "unacceptable". Rebels inside a Palestinian camp in Damascus fired at relief shipments near its entrance, forcing the convoy to return without delivering aid to the refugees, the camp's popular committee said Monday. (Xinhua/Bassem Tellawi)
DAMASCUS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Rebels inside a Palestinian camp in Damascus fired at relief shipments near its entrance, forcing the convoy to return without delivering aid to the refugees, the camp's popular committee said Monday.
In a statement, the committee said "armed terrorist groups" opened fire at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) aid convoy for the Palestinian refugees trapped in the rebel-held al-Yarmouk camp, adding: "terrorists inside the camp insist on starving the locals and using their suffering as a political tool. "
The statement said the shooting hampered yet another bid to ease the suffering of the al-Yarmouk residents, calling for an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian people.
The Syrian forces have besieged for months the al-Yarmouk camp, the main residential area for Palestinian refugees in Syria, blocking its food and medical supplies in a bid to force the rebels out.
People in the camp find themselves caught in the middle of the fighting and victimized by the violence. They urged the Jihadist groups to leave their camp in order for the government troops to break the siege and allow in relief aid.
The Syrian officials accused the rebels inside the camp of hindering efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the afflicted people inside that area.
Khaled Abdul-Majid of the Damascus-based Palestinian Popular Struggle Front told Xinhua recently that a total of 30 Palestinians died in the past three months as a result of hunger and illness at the camp.
When violence started creeping toward the camp in early 2013, many of its residents, both Syrians and Palestinians, fled their homes.
Some Damascus-based Palestinian factions put forward many initiatives recently that aim to disassociate the camp from the Syrian conflict, but they were all rendered flat.
Visiting Palestinian Minister of Labor Ahmad Majdalani on Monday condemned the "terrorist groups" who prevented the entry of the relief convoy. He also noted numerous political attempts to entangle the Palestinians in the Syrian crisis.
Meanwhile, Chris Gunness, a UNRWA spokesman, remarked recently: "There is profound civilian suffering in al-Yarmouk with widespread incidence of malnutrition and the absence of medical care."
"Residents including infants and children are subsisting for long periods on diets of stale vegetables, herbs, powdered tomato paste, animal feed and cooking spices dissolved in water. Children are suffering from diseases linked to severe malnutrition, including anemia, rickets, and kwashiorkor," he noted.
He emphasized the Syrian authorities and other parties must allow and facilitate safe and open humanitarian access into al- Yarmouk to enable the UNRWA to assist civilians trapped there.
Syria's 500,000 Palestinian refugees have tried to keep a distance from the violence that takes place in nearby areas, but Syria's civil conflict did not spare them.