Talks afoot to remove warring sides from Damascus camp



Damascus:Talks were under way on Wednesday aimed at removing both rebel and pro-government fighters from a Damascus Palestinian refugee camp after deadly clashes, a Palestinian relief official told AFP.

"Palestinian organisations that have remained neutral are overseeing talks between the (rebel) Free Syrian Army and Syrian troops, to keep the camp out of the conflict," the relief official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"So far, the talks have been unsuccessful," he added.

Under discussion is a plan to put the Yarmuk refugee camp in the south of the Syrian capital under the control of "neutral" Palestinian officials.

At least half of the camp's population of more than 112,000 have fled in recent days in the face of deadly clashes between pro- and anti-Damascus groups.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday urged the international community to help Palestinian refugees fleeing the fighting to enter the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinians have been divided over the 21-month uprising against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is from the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam but whose regime has long given shelter to hardline militant factions.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), there are 486,000 Palestine refugees living in nine official and three unofficial camps across Syria.

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