Islamic State raids Yarmouk camp

0401Yarmouk

ENEMY OF THE STATE: Islamic State forces stormed Yarmouk camp in the southern Damascus suburbs on Wednesday in an act of revenge for Tuesday’s kidnapping of 10 of its members by the camp’s ruling faction, a citizen journalist in southern Damascus told Syria Direct.

IS entered Yarmouk Camp “because it wants to raid the offices of Hamas...and kidnap Hamas supporters,” said the activist, who goes by the pseudonym Amir a-Shami.

Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis, the strongest of several armed Palestinian and local militia groups vying for control of Yarmouk camp, is a known supporter of Hamas.

The attack on the camp comes in the wake of Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis’s reported capture of ten IS members on Tuesday in retaliation for Monday’s assassination of Abu Suheib, a Hamas leader in Yarmouk camp whose funeral is captured in the photograph above, reported pro-opposition news agency Orient News.

Members of Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis are certain that IS is responsible for their leader’s murder in the camp, said a-Shami.

In addition to being a leader with Hamas, Abu Suheib was the director of a center for education and training at a local Red Crescent-affiliated Palestinian hospital, according to announcements from his funeral on Tuesday.

IS was able to penetrate Yarmouk after apparent collaboration with Jabhat a-Nusra, which controls positions on the fringes of the camp.   

“Unfortunately, it’s not a lie: The terrorist group [IS] allied with the terrorist group Jabhat a-Nusra to invade Yarmouk camp,” said the pro-regime news agency Yarmouk Camp News on Wednesday.

IS has had a presence in the district of al-Hajjar al-Aswad, located just south of Yarmouk camp, for nearly a year.

Yarmouk camp has been encircled by the regime for over two years, and more than a dozen people have reportedly starved to death as a result. The few thousand residents still in the camp are essentially trapped amidst factions that control turf throughout the camp, once home to more than 100,000 Syrians and Palestinians, and which resembles a town more than a camp.

Government forces block access into the camp from the north, although residents move relatively freely within the camp itself.

-April 1, 2015

-Photo courtesy of Yarmouk Off-line

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