Yarmouk Camp Set on Fire (report)

This report is prepared by:

1-Democratic Republic Studies Center – France

2- Action Group for Palestinians of Syria – UK

3- Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression

Introduction:

Palestinian refugees in Syria adopted a stance of ‘caution’ since the beginning of the upheaval, seeking to avoid evocative experiments their peers had experienced in Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. Syrian Security apparatuses, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Palestinian factions defied this public attitude and tried to exploit the Palestinian youth in the regime war against the Syrian upheaval. Such an endeavour, however, was fronted by Palestinian protesters on June 6, 2011, to announce their refusal of the attempts to involve them in the conflict.

The regime has made a definitive decision of involving the Palestinian refugees in the bloody conflict, in spite of their clear message of stopping tampering with the Palestinian blood. The regime has known that it can’t mobilise the majority of Palestinians to be fuel in the Syrian catastrophe, thus the number of Palestinians who have got recruited in the pro-regime militias was less than what it expected – especially in Yarmouk Camp -, and in spite of the persecution and the incitements.

Indeed, the Yarmouk Camp attitude is an intensifying expertise, the Palestinian refugees hold in Syria, regarding their reality and their relation with the environment surrounding them. Such an expertise has been founded away from the traditional Palestinian political institutions, and indeed, more advanced and mature than these institutions’ stands. This “neutralised” stand was enough to push the regime to classify Yarmouk as an ‘enemy’, which resulted in involving the Camp in the war, and in refusing to neutralise the Camp during the long period of besieging.

There are many evidences shown by Yarmouk Camp’s inhabitants, which point to the deliberate protracting of their crisis, in order to reach the position of abolishing the Camp entirely. (It is noteworthy, here, that we understand the concerns of the Palestinian refugees whom we have contacted while preparing this report that the Syrian regime will expand the scale of retaliation against them over time, and we demand intervention to prevent this).

One of these evidences is the executive scheme of housing project in the Southern area of Damascus (adopted by the Damascus governorate), including the Camp. It will change entirely the nature of the Camp as a primary trade market in Damascus, thus, the Camp is to be destroyed and the business cycle not to be revived again as it was before the war. In other words, the society of the Camp will be destroyed.

Another evidence of the deliberate demographic change that is planned to be applied in the Camp is the Law No. 10, for the year 2018. This law is specified to ‘regulating’ the urban status in Syria. We think that this law is created to legally run the post conflict reconstruction as a public punishment of the majority of Syrians, who have rebelled against the regime by confiscating their properties. It is noteworthy that the majority of the Syrians –who have rebelled against the regime regardless of the ways they did that – can’t meet the conditions that are posed to protect their properties.

This report includes what we could document of abuses regarding ‘Camp destroying’ crime, since April 19, 2018 to the present (when the regime and its allies staged a military campaign in the Southern area of Damascus).

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