* Rebels say arming Palestinians to fight pro-Assad faction
* Bomb placed under car of Syrian colonel in Yarmouk camp
BEIRUT Oct 31 Syrian rebels said on Wednesday
they had formed a brigade of sympathetic Palestinians in a
Damascus district to fight armed Palestinians aligned with
President Bashar al-Assad.
About 150,000 Palestinian refugees live in the Syrian
capital's Yarmouk camp, a sprawling area of concrete apartment
blocks, where some residents support the 19-month-old uprising
against Assad and others fight alongside Syrian soldiers.
"We've been arming Palestinians who are willing to fight ...
We have formed Liwa al-Asifah (Storm Brigade) which is made up
of Palestinian fighters only," a rebel commander from the Suqour
al-Golan (Golan Falcons) brigade told Reuters.
"Its task is to be in charge of the Yarmouk camp. We all
support it and back it," he added.
Rebels said they and the new brigade will attack Yarmouk
fighters loyal to Ahmed Jibril, head of the Syrian-sponsored
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command
(PFLP-GC), accusing Jibril's men of harassing camp residents and
attacking Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.
"Now they are targets for us, targets for all the FSA. All
of them with no exceptions," said another Syrian rebel commander
who asked not to be named.
Some PFLP-GC fighters had handed their weapons to the
rebels, the commander said, calling on others to follow suit and
threatening to assassinate pro-Assad figures.
Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, mostly
descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in
1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the
Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions.
But Syria's uprising has split Palestinian loyalties, with
many joining anti-Assad protests. The Islamist Palestinian Hamas
movement closed its offices in Damascus earlier this year.
A bomb exploded early on Wednesday under the car of a Syrian
army colonel in Yarmouk, but he was not in the vehicle and there
were no casualties, according to the British-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict.
It was not clear if the incident was related to the tension
between Syrian rebels and Palestinian factions in Yarmouk.
More than 180 people were killed in Syria on Tuesday, many
of them in government air strikes, the Observatory said.
It estimates that at least 32,000 people have been killed
since March 2011 when peaceful protests against Assad's rule
erupted. They were violently repressed, leading to a civil war.