Abbas, Hamas slam Syrian refugee camp attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 4:08am


Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has appealed for a halt to firing on Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, after air strikes on Yarmuk camp in Damascus killed at least eight civilians.

The Islamist Hamas movement, whose leadership-in-exile was based in Damascus until a recent falling-out with Syrian authorities, condemned the attacks, calling them a crime.

"We call on the warring sides in Syria to spare the Palestinian people and their camps in Syria," Abbas said, adding that bombing of the refugee camps "must be stopped immediately".

"We also call on the international community to take immediate action to provide protection to our people in Syria," Abbas said, adding Palestinians were "not involved" in the conflict.

Writing on his official Facebook page, Izzat al-Rishq, of Hamas's politburo-in-exile, described the attack as a "crime."

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said Palestinians should be left out of the Syrian conflict.

"We condemn targeting Palestinian refugees in Yarmuk refugee camp in Syria by warplanes, in which there were martyrs and injured," he said. "We call to stop targeting our people and to keep them away from what is happening in Syria."

Sunday's air strikes were the first against Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, which have long been strongholds of militant groups closely allied with Damascus. The camp did come under mortar fire earlier this year, something Abbas described at the time as "heinous." Yarmuk is home to 112,000 Palestinians.