UN says conditions ‘desperate’ in Damascus neighborhood

Map showing locations of Yarmouk and Palestine refugee camps in Damascus. bbc.co.uk

BEIRUT (AP) — Conditions are “desperate” inside a Palestinian refugee camp home to about 10,000 civilians in Damascus, the U.N. said Sunday, as civilian casualties mount elsewhere from indiscriminate attacks across the country, despite a nominal cease-fire.

The U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, said violent battles between extremists have left residents of the Yarmouk camp without food or water for more than a week.

“Civilians in Yarmouk are facing starvation and dehydration alongside the heightened risks of serious injury and death from the armed conflict,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

 The camp, a built-up neighborhood once home to an estimated 150,000 people, has been ravaged by fighting between the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, while government forces regularly shell it from outside.