The Straits Times
Published on Dec 19, 2012

Palestinians flee amid clashes, air raids on Damascus camp


DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syrian rebels made advances on Tuesday in fierce fighting for a Palestinian refugee camp in south Damascus that sent tens of thousands of residents fleeing as the army prepared a counter-attack and carried out fresh air raids.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said at least half of Yarmuk's population of more than 112,000 had fled the violence rocking the 2.1 sq km camp.

An AFP correspondent at the border reported an influx of hundreds of Palestinians into neighbouring Lebanon in the face of the fierce fighting between Syrian rebels and their Palestinian allies, and Palestinian factions still loyal to Damascus.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces carried out several air raids on the Yarmuk district, on the southern outskirts of Damascus, as people were fleeing the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.