The Islamic State group has taken control of nearly the entire Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus.
“The priority now is to expel and defeat militants and terrorists in the camp,” Syrian Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar said Wednesday. “Under the present circumstances, a military solution is necessary.”
Palestine Liberation Organization official Anwar Abdul Hadi, said, “Syrian authorities are ready to support the Palestinian fighters in a number of ways, including militarily, to push IS (Islamic State group) out of the camp.”
RELATED: Yarmouk Under Siege
Fighting began April 1 between Palestinian militants and the Islamic State group. A few thousand people fled Yarmouk last weekend, however another 18,000 Palestinian civilians are still trapped in the refugee camp.
Islamic State group militants had nearly taken full control of the Yarmouk refugee camp Monday. Palestinian fighters have attempted to repel the militant attack, but have not been successful.
The clashes have died down as the Islamic State group has been consolidating its control over the refugee camp. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 39 people have been killed in the fighting.
The U.N. Security Council Monday called for the “protection of civilians in the camp for ensuring humanitarian access to the area.”
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said, “Syrian government had used all its efforts to present humanitarian and medical aid to Palestinian refugees and that it had helped them exit Yarmouk safely … Syria and the PLO are determined to fight terrorism, which has reached Palestinian camps in Syria, notably Yarmouk.”
A few years ago, before the Syrian civil war, Yarmouk was a prosperous working class neighborhood of 160,000 Palestinians and Syrians, most of whom have left the area due to the war.