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Aid flow resumes to Palestinian refugees in Syria

Aid starts to flow back into Syria's Yarmouk camp after two-day pause caused by fighting
Yarmouk residents after the siege of the camp (MEE / Laila Benallal)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has managed to resume sending aid supplies to Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk camp in in southern Damascus, following a four-day disruption. 

"UNRWA distributed food parcels to 350 families and provided medical treatment to civilians in Yarmouk [Monday]. This is the second day of UNRWA distribution after four days without access between 3 and 6 September," said Chris Gunness, spokesperson of the agency in a statement on its website.

The suspension was reportedly due clashes between forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad fighters opposing his rule. The camp has been largely under government siege after Syrian opposition fighters took hold of parts of it in 2012.  

"UNRWA is deeply concerned that the recourse to armed violence frequently interrupts life-saving humanitarian operations in Yarmouk. The humanitarian situation in Yarmouk remains desperate and UNRWA appeals to all parties to do everything in their power to end the suffering of the over 18,000 civilians trapped there," added Gunness.

Last month, 350 Palestinians fled from the camp, reportedly to Turkey after airstrikes by Syrian warplanes destroyed their homes. 

The unofficial camp, which was previously home to more than 150,000 registered refugees as well as many poorer Syrians and Iraqi refugees, came to international prominence earlier this year when fighting prevented aid groups from delivering food, water or medicines to civilians trapped inside for months. 

The UN described the conditions inside the camp as "complete deprivation" before supplies were finally allowed in temporarily in February and began to flow properly again in March.