Growing numbers of Palestinians in Syria are joining the revolution—despite harsh repression by the regime and its proxy militias.
There are over 500,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria in nine official camps and three unofficial camps.
These camps include Yarmouk in Damascus, which has become increasingly vocal in its support for the revolution.
The relationship between Palestinian refugees and the Syrian regime has always been a strained one.
Since the start of the Syrian uprising, young Palestinians have been protesting against groups closely associated with the regime. The camps are heavily policed by pro-regime militias. They often repress protests and conduct arrests.
Tensions exploded in June when pro-regime thugs opened fire on a demonstration in Yarmouk, killing 14 refugees. Protesters then burned down the militia’s headquarters.
Since then most Palestinian groups in the camps have remained silent. Hamas, the main Palestinian resistance group, has broken its links to the Assad regime.
Hamas offices have been closed down and its property confiscated by the regime.
There is growing disaffection among many young refugees, many of whom have turned to the revolution.
The repression in Yarmouk is rapidly worsening. Three officials from the Palestinian branch of the Syrian army, which refused to support the repression, were shot on 29 February. One was killed and two seriously injured.
Over 15,000 Palestinians came out for the funeral, which turned into a demonstration against Assad.
The revolution leadership inside the Local Coordinating Committees released a statement last Sunday that condemned the regime’s “dirty operations” against Palestinians living in Syria.
The statement declared, “We are Palestinians and Syrians. We are partners in blood and liberty.”