Syria: Ceasefire agreed for Yarmouk refugee camp

The once vibrant Palestinian community has become a symbol of suffering in Syria. (Photo - UNRWA)23 June 2014 – The Syrian government and rebel groups have reportedly agreed a truce in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. A copy of the ceasefire deal, seen by the BBC, says the main entrances to the camp in Damascus will be opened and basic services will be restored. The ceasefire is said to include the Syrian regime, rebel groups based in Yarmouk and many Palestinian factions. It is not clear when the truce will begin. Previous truces have been broken.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said the agency had received "credible information about an agreement signed yesterday between Syrian authorities and armed opposition groups inside Yarmouk"."We would welcome any durable and binding agreement that achieves a cessation of hostilities, full humanitarian access and an end to the suffering of civilians in Yarmouk and all of Syria," he added.

Syria has been engulfed in a bloody conflict between government and rebel forces over the past three years. About 18,000 people have been besieged since last July. Rights groups say more than 100 people have starved to death. Both food and medicine are in scarce supply in Yarmouk and large parts of the suburb lie in utter ruin. For the last two weeks, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been unable to distribute food because of continued clashes and shelling, our correspondent adds.

Source: BBC News (prepared by: Mateja Robnik)