A handout picture released by SANA on February 4, 2014, allegedly shows residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp waiting to receive food parcels from the UNRWA
A handout picture released by SANA on February 4, 2014, allegedly shows residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp waiting to receive food parcels from the UNRWA © - SANA/AFP/File
A handout picture released by SANA on February 4, 2014, allegedly shows residents of Syria's besieged Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp waiting to receive food parcels from the UNRWA
AFP
Last updated: February 20, 2014

UN resumes aid to Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus

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The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has resumed distribution of aid at the besieged Yarmuk camp in southern Damascus, a spokesman said Thursday.

Distribution of desperately needed food and medicine was halted on February 8 after clashes broke out, but resumed Wednesday, Chris Gunness said.

It was not yet clear if distribution continued Thursday, but staff had been able to distribute food parcels to 280 families the previous day, he told AFP.

Gunness noted that work had been disrupted "when the crowd of desperate civilians surged towards the distribution area."

Around 18,000 Palestinian civilians are trapped inside the camp, which is mostly controlled by rebel forces and has been under a tight government siege since June.

But a Palestinian official said on Sunday that all Syrian opposition fighters had withdrawn from the camp, a development residents said they hoped could lead to the lifting of the siege.

Palestinian groups have regularly urged that Yarmuk remain neutral, but instead it has become the scene of regular clashes that have laid waste to much of it.

Food and medical supplies have dwindled, and dozens of residents are reported to have died from hunger and lack of medical treatment.

After a deal reached in late December, UNRWA began distributing aid on January 18, and around 1,500 civilians were also evacuated.

Gunness said some 6,500 food parcels had been handed out between then and February 8.

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