AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian rebels killed 10 members of a Palestinian militant faction loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday in fighting near a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, opposition sources said.
Clashes between rebels and the Popular for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) have escalated this week in “Street 30” and the Hajar al-Aswad area near Yarmouk, a camp inhabited by 150,000 Palestinians and as many Syrians.
Syrian army artillery and warplanes have bombarded rebel positions in the area, opposition sources said.
Syrian rebels and anti-Assad Palestinians announced the formation of a new brigade last week to battle the PFLP-GC, which along with other Palestinian militants and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have long enjoyed shelter in Syria after successive disastrous wars with Israel dating to 1948.
The Syrian foreign ministry said Damascus would stand “with full determination against any attempt to drag the Palestinians into what is happening in Syria”, the state news agency SANA reported, quoting a ministry official.
President Mahmoud Abbas of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority has asked both the United Nations and Russia, one of Assad’s last remaining allies, to work to protect Palestinians in Syria, the official Palestinian news agency reported.
Separately, Syrian security forces raided and sealed the Damascus office of the head of the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, who with top aides left the city months ago after Assad stepped up repression of protests, Hamas said.
Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Mark Heinrich