Fri 30 Oct 2020

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Palestinian official confirms starting return measures of Yarmouk camp residents

Palestinian refugees waiting for relief aids in the Yarmouk camp - 2014 (Getty Images)

Palestinian refugees waiting for relief aids in the Yarmouk camp - 2014 (Getty Images)

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The Secretary-General of the “Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF),” Khaled Abdul Majeed, said that the implementation of practical measures for the return of the Yarmouk camp residents to their houses would take place within days, expecting that the first phase would include the return of 100,000 persons.

In an interview with the Russian website “Sputnik,” published on 8 October, Abdul Majeed said that the Syrian regime had instructed the concerned parties to begin the process of returning the displaced Palestinians and Syrian residents to their houses.

Abdul Majeed clarified that the return will take place in stages and that the first stage will allow the return of owners of undestroyed and habitable houses and the houses that need restoration work, on condition of presenting the required identification documents and obtaining a security clearance.

He also pointed out that the rehabilitating of the camp infrastructure will include the residential habitable areas and coincide with the residents’ return to the camp, according to the information Abdul Majeed obtained through Damascus governorate.

Abdul Majeed added that the Yarmouk municipality’s office is reopened and that the municipal staff will start within days special practical measures for rehabilitating the infrastructure.

He mentioned that the Syrian regime’s government is the one responsible for the process of rehabilitating the infrastructures in the camp. At the same time, the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)” would be responsible for rebuilding educational, health, and social institutions there.

According to Abdul Majeed, the restoration of the camp’s houses will be their owners’ responsibility.

Abdul Majeed indicated that the relevant authorities are currently studying the possibility of returning families who submitted proof of ownership papers of their homes, as the Yarmouk camp’s municipality will ensure that their homes are fit for housing, and their names will be checked for security reasons.

On 5 October, the Executive Office in Damascus governorate has set three conditions that allow the Yarmouk camp residents to return home.

According to the local newspaper “al-Watan,” Samir Jazairli, a member of the Executive Office of Damascus governorate, said that the governorate “is working to facilitate the residents’ return, who have been forcibly displaced by terrorism, to the Yarmouk camp under three conditions.”

These conditions include structural safety, proof of ownership, and required approvals,” according to al-Watan newspaper.

Jazairli added that the announcement comes to “resolve the leaked claims and ensure accuracy of the information,” after the end of the committee’s meeting responsible for the return issue of the Yarmouk camp residents.

He pointed out that the number of objections has reached 2,900 up to the suspension decision of the second regulatory plan of the Yarmouk Camp, which was put for “urban architectural reasons, and has no political purposes whatsoever.”

Meanwhile, the “Action Group for the Palestinians of Syria (AGPS)” announced on 30 September that 50 Palestinian families had submitted their property legal papers to the Syrian security barrier at the 30th Street entrance in the Yarmouk camp to secure accommodation permits in the camp.

The AGPS added that a month after submitting the necessary papers, the families should expect a call from the military security branch in the al-Adawi area in Damascus to receive the security clearance allowing their return to their properties in the camp, provided that the residents meet the required criteria set by the security apparatus.

 

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