Yarmouk camp in Damascus .. Why is the Syrian regime obstructing the return of its residents?

Amman Today

publish date 2021-09-03 18:32:51

The scene of destruction still prevails in the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in Damascus, southern Syria, despite the passage of more than 3 years since the Syrian regime took control of it.

Along the neighborhoods of the camp, located south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, the destruction and piles of stones and dust reveal the size of the battles and the weapons used in them, and in every corner there are holes in the walls, and visitors notice the traces of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of bullet holes in the buildings.

Return & Terms

In November 2018, the Syrian regime authorities announced that the camp’s residents would be allowed to return to their homes, but the decision was not implemented and remained ink on paper. Household items and furniture stolen outside the camp.

Two years later, the Syrian regime issued a new decision to return in October 2020, requiring the Damascus Governorate to receive return requests from the people, according to 3 conditions: public safety for construction, proof of property ownership, and obtaining security approval.

Member of the Executive Office of Damascus Governorate, Samir Jazaerli, said – in media statements – that water and sanitation are available in most areas of the camp, while electricity is currently not available, and at the beginning of this year funds are allocated to provide it to the camp.

Return requests continue, according to Jazaerli, as more than 1,200 requests have arrived in Damascus governorate since the application registration was opened in October 2020, adding that only 500 requests fulfilled the conditions set by the government in order to secure the return process.

Despite this, the number of Palestinian families that returned to Yarmouk camp is less than 500, while it was inhabited by more than 150,000 people in 2011, according to the “Working Group for Palestinians of Syria” concerned with Palestinian refugees.

systematic destruction

Activists and people from the camp accuse the Syrian regime of obstructing their return, and setting harsh and unfair conditions against them in order to secure their return, at a time when they assert that the reconstruction process in the camp is not in the mind of the regime and the rest of the organizations concerned with the Palestinian issue.

The General Coordinator of the Action Group for the Palestinians of Syria, Tariq Hammoud, questioned the reason for the systematic destruction of the infrastructure in Yarmouk camp by the Syrian regime forces after they entered it, if the regime was talking about the intention of returning the camp residents to it.

Hammoud said – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the Syrian regime, through the Damascus governorate, approved the return of the new organizational scheme for the camp despite the objections, in line with the security needs in the capital, Damascus, according to his perspective, and the aim of it is to promote a strategy of Palestinians less in the capital and more in the periphery.

Hammoud added that there is basically no living situation in the camp, as the families that return are carefully selected from the system according to ties to the Palestinian factions, while there is no health, education or services, and all that remains are completely destroyed walls and buildings looted that need years until it is reconstructed.

looting and thefts

The systematic looting of the homes of Yarmouk camp was not under suspicion or accusations that needed evidence; The pictures that activists circulated on social media for the Syrian regime forces and loyal militias carrying washing machines and refrigerators were enough to condemn these thefts completely, at a time when human rights reports proved the scale of those operations.

According to a survey report by the Action Group for the Palestinians of Syria, 93.2% of the respondents had their homes stolen from furniture, doors, windows, electrical wires, and others.

The report confirms that members of the Syrian regime stole civilian homes in Yarmouk camp and the surrounding neighborhoods, which the regime took control of on May 21, 2018, in a phenomenon that has come to be called “looting.”

Al Jazeera Net

#Yarmouk #camp #Damascus #Syrian #regime #obstructing #return #residents

World News

Source : ألدستور

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