BEIRUT Dec 16 Syrian fighter jets rocketed the
Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus on Sunday, killing at least
25 people sheltering in a mosque in an area where Syrian rebels
have been trying to advance on the capital, opposition activists
They said the deaths resulted from a rocket hitting a mosque
in the camp, to which refugees have fled from other fighting in
nearby suburbs of Damascus. It was the first reported aerial
attack on the camp since the revolt against President Bashar
al-Assad erupted last year.
Yarmouk, in southern Damascus, is part of an arc sweeping
from the east to southwest of the Syrian capital where Assad's
forces have been trying for several weeks to push back rebels
from the gates of his power base.
A video posted on Youtube shows bodies and body parts
scattered on the stairs of what appears to be the mosque.
Syria is the home of more that 500,000 Palestinian refugees,
most of them living in Yarmouk. Assad's government and Syrian
rebels have enlisted and armed Palestinians refugees during the
21-month uprising, which has escalated into a civil war.
Heavy fighting broke out 12 days ago between Palestinians
loyal to Assad and Syrian rebels, together with a brigade of
Palestinian fighters known as Liwaa al-Asifah (Storm Brigade).
The fighting intensified on Saturday with rebels gaining
ground inside the camp, forcing Ahmed Jibril, a veteran leader
of a Damascus-based Palestinian faction that back Assad to leave
the capital with his son.
Jibril's PFLP-GC has maintained strong ties to Assad
throughout the uprising, unlike the militant Islamist Hamas
movement whose Damascus-based officials - including
leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal - quietly pulled out of Syria as
the mainly Sunni Muslim revolt against Assad gained momentum.