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Syria war: Germany detains Syrian for 2014 grenade attack on Yarmouk camp

German prosecutors charged a man, identified as Mouafak AI D, with war crimes in Syria and fighting for a militia allied to Assad 
Residents wait to receive food aid distributed by UNRWA at the besieged al-Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus (Reuters)

Germany has detained a Syrian man in Berlin suspected of firing a grenade into a crowd of civilians waiting for food inside a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus in 2014. 

German prosecutors on Wednesday charged a man, identified as Mouafak AI D, with war crimes in Syria and for fighting for a militia allied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Under Germany's regulations regarding privacy, defendants' surnames are not made public.

The attack took place in the Yarmouk refugee camp, once the largest in Syria for Palestinian refugees, when civilians were waiting for food aid. 

A man fired at the crowd from an anti-tank weapon, killing seven and severely wounding three others, including a six-year-old, German authorities said. 

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The Yarmouk refugee camp was under siege by the Syrian government and its allied militias from 2013 until 2018, when the army recaptured it from rebels. 

Mouafak's prosecution is the latest in a series of cases pursued by Germany against alleged abuses committed in Syria. 

Last week, a Syrian doctor living in Germany was charged with crimes against humanity - including torture and one case of murder - for his role in the Syrian war. 

The suspect, identified as Alaa M, was first charged in June 2020 with torturing detainees when he worked inside a prison run by the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian city of Homs in 2011. 

The Syrian doctor was later charged with other crimes, including the killing of one person and 18 counts of torture. 

German prosecutor documents state that Alaa M allegedly worked in military hospitals in Homs and Damascus between 2011 and 2012.

Earlier this year, Germany became the first country in the world to charge someone for crimes related to war crimes perpetrated by Assad's government. 

Eyad al-Gharib, 44, a former Syrian intelligence officer, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the arrests of at least 30 protesters in the city of Douma in 2011, and taking them to the al-Khatib detention centre in Damascus where they were tortured. 

The conflict in Syria has killed at least 500,000 people since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful demonstrations by forces loyal to Assad.