Damascus, Syria – United Nations officials said on Sunday that some civilians stranded in the war-turn district of Yarmouk in Southern Damascus have been evacuated.
The Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian refugees was taken over by militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) on Saturday, following battles with rebels of Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis.
Chris Gunness, spokesman of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said that 94 civilians, including 43 women and 20 children, were able to leave the district on Sunday afternoon, and have reportedly received humanitarian assistance.
In Yarmouk, more than 18,000 civilians –mostly Palestinian refugees– have suffered years of bombing, army siege and militia control. They are currently under the control of IS militants.
“There have been some civilians who were able to flee the camp earlier today and we call on all parties to show maximum restraint so other civilians who wish to leave can be evacuated,” UNRWA spokesman said.
The United Nations has said it is extremely concerned about the safety and protection of Syrians and Palestinians in the camp. Civilians trapped there have long suffered from a government siege that has led to starvation and disease.
About half a million Palestinian refugees resided in Yarmouk before the outbreak of the four year war civil in Syria.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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