Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Saturday condemning “terrorist attack” advances by “Islamic State” (IS) into Yarmouk refugee camp, amidst reports the group has taken 90% of camp.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Jabhat Al-Nusra and IS made the significant advance after deadly clashes with Palestinian faction Aknaf Bait Al-Maqdis
The camp, located in the Syrian capital Damascus, is home to approximately 18,000 Syrian-Palestinians besieged by fighting Syrian factions, namely including the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and living in desperate conditions.
Recently, IS broke through into the camp, but were later repelled by local militias. However, on Saturday, local Palestinian officials reported that IS fought their way back into the camp.
This new success for the group is a significant blow to the government of President Bashar Al-Assad, being very close to the heart of his regime.
A statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson “condemned… in the strongest terms the terrorist attack of the terrorist organisation Daesh on the Yarmouk refugee camp… which has led to deaths and injuries among civilians”.
The spokesperson said Egypt calls “for an immediate end to the fighting in order to preserve the lives of civilians…and reiterates Egypt’s solidarity with our Palestinian brotherly-people”.
Palestinians arrived in the Yarmouk camp in the 1950s, at a time when many were displaced throughout the region following the establishment of Israel. Since protests flared in 2011 and turned in to a protracted civil war among numerous groups in Syria, the camp has become a desperately deprived district in the city.
At the recent Arab League summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, one of the few moments of division between attending countries occurred over Syria and the role of Russia. Egypt, who has been making moves to build strong relations with Russia, read out a statement of support to Arab nations from President Vladimir Putin.
However, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal immediately responded to delegates at the recent Arab League summit that: “[Putin] speaks about the problems in the Middle East as though Russia is not influencing these problems”.
Russia is a key supporter of the embattled Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and without their support it is widely held that the regime would fall.