PLO Will Not Use Military Action in Yarmouk

The Palestine Liberation Organization said it would not be drawn into using military action in Syria at a Palestinian refugee camp rejecting the claims that the Palestinians would join with troops from Syria to drive out the militants from the Islamic State.

The statement by the PLO was issued late on Thursday and contradicted comments made earlier by a PLO envoy Ahmad Majdalani in Damascus that Palestinian groups are set to join Syrian government troops to expels the fighters from IS from Yarmouk located in the capital of Syria.

Mahmoud Abbas the Palestinian President has insisted for a long period that Palestinians remain out of the conflict in Syria. It was not clear why the envoy, which was sent by Abbas to handle the crisis, came out supporting military involvement by the Palestinians in Syria.

The contradictory comments have exposed disagreement internally amongst the Palestinians on the best way to handle a growing crisis in the refugee camp, where there are thousands of people trapped under conditions that have been called inhumane.

A senior official with the PLO, Wasel Abu Yousef who is based in Ramallah a town in the West Bank, said on Friday that negotiating a safe passage for residents of the besieged Yarmouk camp and humanitarian supplies is the preferable route and not military action.

He added that if the army from Syria were to intervene with tanks and planes the entire camp would be destroyed.

Khaled Abdul-Majid a Palestinian official based in Damascus said the difference of opinion was not helping those in Yarmouk. He added that the PLO was pulling back from statements made earlier due to pressure from external groups.

He would not elaborate on who those groups might be but said Palestinian factions based in Damascus would stick to an agreement that was reached on joining troops from Syria  in driving out the IS militants.

Yarmouk was overrun last week by fighters from Islamic State, which helped the groups establish its first foothold in the capital of Syria.

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