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Clashes between IS, Jabhat al-Nusra spell despair for Yarmouk residents

Clashes between Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State militants in the Yarmouk refugee camp portend more despair for Palestinian residents, whose situation is already desperate.
An Islamic State flag is seen near a barricade, which serves as protection from snipers of forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Yarmouk Street, the main street of Yarmouk camp, April 10, 2015. A bout of fighting between militants over control of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the edge of Damascus has only compounded the misery of residents already suffering from acute shortages of food, clean water and power. Picture taken April 10, 2015. REUTERS/Moayad Zaghmout - RTR4XFKQ
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The fighting that broke out between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp two weeks ago is compounding the already dire situation for several thousand families still inside the camp and many more previously displaced to the surrounding areas of Yalda, Beit Saham and Babila. The fighting that erupted on April 7 in what was once Syria's largest Palestinian refugee camp has placed several thousand civilians amid the frontline clashes between the two militant groups.

Since July 2013, Yarmouk has been under seige by Syrian government forces, purportedly due to the presence of rebel factions inside the camp, resulting in civilian deaths from starvation and lack of medical supplies, according to a report by the UK-based Action Group for Palestinians from Syria. Hundreds of Palestinians were reportedly detained, disappeared or tortured to death by the security services. In April 2015, IS militants briefly gained control over much of Yarmouk, with the help of Jabhat al-Nusra, but the two jihadist groups have since turned against each other. Palestinian factions in the camp are divided between the pro- and anti-government camps.

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