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Four-year-old siege still punishing civilians in Syria's Yarmouk camp

Despite talk of negotiations and a breakthrough, the siege imposed by the Syrian regime on the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus continues to claim the lives of civilians.
A general view shows a deserted street at the beginning of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp April 29, 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. REUTERS/Ward Al-Keswani - GF10000077547

Images of the Yarmouk camp siege keep coming. They are tragic and familiar. The infant Taqeh Yousef was photographed Nov. 1 on her deathbed after seizures and oxygen deprivation stopped her beating heart. Last week, ageing refugee Fatima Hassan al-Khalili reportedly died in hospital after crucial delays getting medical treatment. Queues of civilians, mostly women in black abayas, stand around gray checkpoints demarcating regime, rebel and jihadi areas of control in the south Damascus suburbs.

The first complete siege was imposed by pro-government forces around Yarmouk in mid-2013. The now concentric sieges-within-sieges — by pro-government forces outside and Islamic State (IS) within —encircling what was once Syria’s largest prewar Palestinian community still regularly cost civilian lives. Recent checkpoint closures by rebel groups have only made things worse.

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