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Hamas refuses to change Yarmouk camp’s character and demands return of its residents 

Citizens in Yarmouk camp, near Damascus - 18 July 2018 ( The Facebook page of Yarmouk Camp News)

Citizens in Yarmouk camp, near Damascus - 18 July 2018 ( The Facebook page of Yarmouk Camp News)

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The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” has announced that it refused the organizational plan proposed by the Damascus Governorate for the “Yarmouk Refugee Camp” according to the head of the movement’s media department in the foreign region, Raafat Mura.

According to the official website of “Hamas”, Mura expressed in a statement issued on 21 July his rejection of any attempt to change the character of the “ Yarmouk refugee camp,” change or transfer the camp ownership of its residents to other places whether under the title of a directive plan or others. 

Mura called for allowing the camp’s residents to return and reside in the camp as well as reconstruct their properties, in parallel with the camp’s reconstruction and repatriation of all refugees.  He also asked for the settlement of all refugees in the camp, noting that the Palestinians have to return to their homes and properties from which they have been displaced. 

 

Mura explained that the “ Yarmouk camp” constitutes an “ allegory of the Palestinian presence in Syria and the Palestinian refugees, given its history, identity, and commitment to the Palestinian cause,” considering that “the Palestinian presence in Syria is essential for the continued Palestinian steadfastness in resisting the occupation.”

On 25 June, the Damascus Governorate agreed to announce the master plan of the al-Qaboun area and the regulatory map of the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus outside the framework of Law No. 10 of 2018.

This plan was issued within the framework of Law No. 23 of 2015 that provides for “organizing the process of land preparation for construction, according to the general organizational plan and the detailed regulatory plan in the urban development schemes approved by one of the two following methods, the owner’s division, and the regulatory planning of the administrative authority.”

The plan in the “Yarmouk refugee camp” was rejected by the Palestinians of Syria, amid calls from Palestinian human rights organizations for the Damascus Governorate to retract the plan, for it is seen as a complete change of the features of the camp.

For his part, the Palestinian security and military official in the Palestinian Popular Front – General Command, Khaled Ahmad Jibril, held the people of Yarmouk camp responsible for the loss of the camp, not the organizational plan issued by the Damascus Governorate.

Jibril said in a recording posted on social media sites on 19 July, that “ The one who sold out Yarmouk camp is not the Damascus governorate, but rather the camp residents who left their properties for sale and left for Europe.”

“The General Authority for Palestinian Refugees” formed a committee to protest the organizational plan of the camp, and its report was not issued up to the time of the preparation of the present report. 

The camp experienced battles between the factions of “ the Free Syrian Army” (FSA) and the Syrian regime forces, amid the division of the Palestinian factions between the two sides before the so-called Islamic State (IS), took control of two-thirds of the camp in 2015.

However, in May 2018, after a month-long military operation, during which the IS group was expelled from the camp, the forces of the regime completely re-established control over al-Hajar al-Aswad and “Yarmouk” camps, in the wake of an unofficial evacuation agreement that transferred the IS group’s members to the desert of As-Suwayda.

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