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Group: 3 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria fighting

Dec. 26, 2015 12:19 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 27, 2015 10:29 A.M.)
A man stands on a staircase inside a destroyed building in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 6, 2015. (AFP/Youssef Karwashan, File)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Three Palestinian refugees were killed in the outskirts of the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday, said a Syria-based Palestinian monitoring group.

The Workforce for Palestinians in Syria said in a statement that two Palestinians were killed by artillery shelling in Khan al-Sheikh refugee camp. The group did not identify the group responsible for the shelling.

The day before, three others had been killed from the camp after fighter jets from the Syrian regime dropped four barrel bombs in the area.

Syrian military checkpoints continued closed the main road between Khan al-Sheikh refugee camp and Damascus, preventing residents access to basic necessities, the Workplace for Palestinians in Syria group added.

The group said that a third Palestinian, identified as Muhammad Hamid al-Kafri, was shot dead Friday during clashes taking place outside of the Yarmouk refugee camp and the Syrian town of Yalda between Syrian rebels and Islamic State militants.

Al-Kafri, a father of two, was originally from the Palestinian village of Lubia but fled to Syria, among around 750,000 Palestinians to be displaced in 1948 following the establishment of Israel, the monitoring group said.

Palestinian refugees are among the millions in Syria who have suffered from brutal fighting that has continued for nearly five years.

The group said that 3084 Palestinian refugees have been killed since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, including 415 women, and 1022 Palestinians have been imprisoned including 75 women.

Al-Kafri -- one of the three killed Friday -- was one of thousands to flee his home in the Yarmouk refugee camp amid ongoing fighting, according to the Workplace for Palestinians in Syria.

The majority of Yarmouk’s 180,000 residents fled amid a government siege of the camp that began in 2013, as well as fighting between the government forces and armed opposition groups.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl warned earlier this month the high risks that Palestinian refugees are facing without adequater shelter or basic needs.

“These realities will only become more unbearable as they brace themselves for the harsh winter conditions," the official said at the time.

Around 100,000 Palestinians have been among the over four million people to flee Syria.

Many of those who fled have attempted to cross to Europe by both land and sea, as well as to neighboring countries, despite the denial of rights granted to other refugees that decrease chances for Palestinian refugees to gain access into other countries.

The 450,000 Palestinians who have remained in Syria, meanwhile, have come under repeated attacks and sieges making it nearly impossible for UNWRA to deliver the population basic necessities.

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