An incredibly interesting and informative report by Sharmine Narwani, compiling facts during her two visits to Syria in 2012 and 2014.
As early as 2012 all Palestinian political factions based in Syria, namely Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-G) and Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), officially declared neutrality in the Syrian conflict. With the passage of time as the war got more intense and foreign terrorists began attacking Palestinian refugee camps, Palestinians in 14 camps across Syria (including Yarmouk) overwhelmingly began supporting the Syrian government and the Resistance. It’s truly heartening to learn of the details provided by Sharmine Narwani on their commitment, dedication, and accurate perception on the importance of maintaining solidarity with Syria and Iran as being vital for the Palestinian cause and its future.
Regrettably, Hamas had been the odd one out. It’s difficult to guess what Hamas’ reclusive approach at present might indicate – neutrality or discreet continued support for the rebels? Probably neutrality .. or so I hope. Khaled Meshal’s hasty decision of shifting Hamas headquarters from Damascus to Qatar has made reconciliation between Hamas and the Syrian government almost impossible. Additionally, the decision of Hamas’ military wing to send its fighters to join Al-Nusra & FSA in the battle of Qusair in July 2013 was much too damaging and indeed the final nail on relations between Hamas and Syria. Though according to various reports, Hamas now supposedly regrets its past missteps, it’s perhaps too little too late. The best it can do at the moment is to stay neutral and silent.
The write-up provides first hand information on the suffering of Palestinian refugees at the hands of foreign fighters and the chain of assassinations of Palestinians of various political factions carried out by terrorists in Syria.
Following are some interesting excerpts from Sharmine Narwani's the work:
Many Palestinians I interviewed told the story of the driver of the PLA van – who was not a soldier himself. Ahmad Ezz was a young man from the Nairab camp in Aleppo. The rebels spared him – temporarily – then strapped him into a vehicle rigged with massive explosives, and ordered him to drive into a Syrian army checkpoint. According to multiple Arabic news reports, at the very last minute, Ahmad veered sharply away from the checkpoint. The rebels detonated the explosives and Ahmad died, but by changing course he spared the Syrian soldiers.
At the entrance of the (Jeramana) camp, I was greeted by armed Palestinians who are part of a 14-group ‘volunteer force’ formed for the purpose of protecting Yarmouk and ejecting the rebel fighters .. When I ask them where they’re from, in rapid-fire, one after the other, they tell me,“Safad, Lubya, Haifa, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Acca,” though, of course, they’re too young to ever have been to any of these places. That’s where their parents or grandparents hail from. That’s where they intend to return one day.
Further into the camp, I spot several dozen children in festive mode, sporting nationalist clothing and hoisting Palestinian and Syrian flags. One carries a large poster of Syrian President BasharAssad. The kids are about to perform in a ceremony for Yom al-Ard (Land Day) to commemorate the day in 1976 when Israel confiscated thousands of dunams of Palestinian land. .... I follow them around the corner to their destination and am startled at what lies ahead. A large, colorful tent has been erected to house a crowd attending the Yom al-Ard activities – but flanking the podium inside are massive posters of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Assad.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar, the president of Syrian Red Crescent Society (SARC), when asked if the Syrian army ever entered Palestinian camps while civilians were still in residence -- "In my opinion, no. Everything happening in Yarmouk is in the hands of Palestinians, not Syrians. The Syrian role is only in facilitation." The only exception to this, say Palestinians of all backgrounds, is when camps are entirely empty of civilians – as in Daraa and Handarat. Only then does the Syrian army enter to fight rebels.
"Rebels killed some PLA officers to force Palestinians to help the Syrian revolution – to intimidate them. And they blamed the Syrian army. The target of this crisis is the Palestinian case. They think when they occupy Palestinian camps in Syria and divide them, they will forget Palestine," - Palestine's ambassador to Syria, Anwar Abdul Hadi.
The Syrian state continues to support Palestinian refugees in various ways: inside Jeramana, the Syrians have established a supply store that provides food basics – lentils, jam, beans, tomato paste, yoghurt etc – at substantial discounts for camp residents and displaced persons. An elderly woman sits at her makeshift stall elsewhere in the camp, distributing state-subsidized bread for literally pennies. (In Yarmouk, I had also observed government-donated bread and jam sandwiches handed out to refugees awaiting UNRWA food aid boxes.) Inside the camp’s main marketplace, an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables are on display in the narrow street. Even though the camp’s population has swelled to four to five times its pre-conflict numbers, residents have adapted to the new realities in Jeramana. They, at least, still have their homes.
Here is the complete article. If you're really interested to know the truth, don't miss it.
"Stealing Palestine: Who dragged Palestine into Syria's conflict?"
By Sharmine Narwani