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Insider Information: Syrian Intelligence Displaces Yarmouk Camp Residents | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Residents wait in line to receive food aid in Yarmouk camp April 14, 2015. REUTERS/Moayad Zaghmout

Yarmouk Camp, Damascus-The tragedy of Yarmouk Camp unfolded in the second half of 2012 when anti-Assad protests were taking place in the areas surrounding it such as, Tadamon, Al-Hajar al-Aswad, Yalda and Al Qadam.

These are marginalized and highly populated areas that showed full support for the protests against Bashar Assad since the first days of the revolt against him. These events coincided with intermittent mortar attacks on various zones at the camp.

In August 2012, Al-Ja’una Street witnessed a terrible massacre when three mortars targeted it only few hours before Maghrib Athan in one of days of the holy month of Ramadan. There was a total of 29 casualties, Syrians and Palestinians, and scores of wounded.

Sources close to the head of the regime revealed that Assad forces carried out a huge security operation at Yarmouk Camp to totally eradicate the existence of armed and unarmed opposition forces in certain zones surrounding the camp and to protect the southern borders of the capital.

Several military groups and structures broke away and merged with other groups such as ISIS or al-Nusra Front.

ISIS now dominates more than 45 percent of the camp with up to 900 Syrian militants and a limited number of Palestinians; Al-Nusra Front controls over 30 percent of the camp.

The current struggle and the fact that ISIS dominates a huge part of the camp will make the mission of destroying the camp easy under the pretext of facing ISIS, while the Palestinian factions including the Palestine Liberation Organization stand still claiming they don’t have enough power to interfere in this struggle.

Many consider Al-Qaeda to be more dangerous than ISIS for the one that ISIS could be destroyed once the financial support provided to it stops. However, Al-Qaeda is an organized entity with terrifying arrangements and tools.

The current situation in the camp is a huge relief to Assad with regards to the military and security aspects and a chance for dominating the most dangerous regions in the Governorate of Reef Damascus amidst the population void and the presence of Palestinian factions fighting beside Assad’s forces.

The crisis of Yarmouk Camp does not seem to end unless the Syrian crisis ends first.