For updates since the beginning of ISIS/Assad assault on Yarmouk early April here.
On the 25th of April 2015, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari claimed that Yarmouk’s population doesn’t exceed 1000 person following ISIS assault on the camp. While it is impossible for any authority/organization to verify the actual number of residents left in the camp, activists I am in touch with confirmed that they have lists of four to five thousands displaced person in the besieged south. The IDPs are distributed in three areas: Beit Sahem, Yalda and Babilaa. Thus, Yarmouk is still packed with people from all ages and they still urgently need a humanitarian intervention and a political solution.
Yarmouk’s residents gathered today under the slogan: “We Are Here To Remain….In Yarmouk”, in order to convey a clear and sharp message to Jaafari, the Syrian government and any other party. Yarmouk is not empty. There are at least 14 thousands besieged inhabitants waiting the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2139 (2013) and 2165 (2014). Their demand is simple: “unhindered passage to all areas for humanitarian personnel, equipment and transport as well as safe and unhindered evacuation of all civilians who wish to leave certain areas”. While some want to leave the camp, others have made a clear decision of never abandoning their houses which they constructed stone by stone since 1957, the year in which the camp was founded.
This gathering comes also as a reaction for rumors about a possible shutdown for Yalda checkpoint, a connecting exist between Yarmouk and Ylada. This worrying news will mean that the relative “free” movement Yarmouk’s residents use to access other besieged areas to receive food assistance might become history. The siege within the siege is becoming tighter. No serious efforts are being seen.
What do those statements aim to achieve? Is it a preparatory phase to give a cover for ground invasion of Yarmouk? The rumors of a potential shutdown of Yalda exist is an indirect threat to the residents of Yarmouk that they will no longer have access to food, unless they leave the camp towards Yalda. The only way to make sure that such plans dont exist is by resuming food distribution again from the northern exist of Yarmouk which lies under the control of the regime. Otherwise, the concern of a large scale military operation against Yarmouk and it’s residents is still there and it is very legitimate.
Photos Credit: Abu Raed, a pseudonym for a resident of Yarmouk, Al Yarmouk Camp Press, media collective for citizen journalists.
“To Bashar Al-Jaafari, Yarmouk Camp is still vibrant with life”
Sunday 26th April 2015
Arabic banner reads: “I want bread, milk, vaccine, and hope for life”
From the gather of Sunday 26th of April 2015 “We Are Here To Remain…In Yarmouk”
“We Are More Than 2000 Pupil in Yarmouk” the banner read
Residents of Yarmouk chant for Palestine and their camp, the main chanted slogan:
“Not Fateh nor Hamas, Yarmouk is the essence”
Video via Yarmouk Camp Press