UN demands refugees be evacuated
THE UN Security Council has called for life-saving assistance and safe evacuation for up to 18,000 Palestinians facing escalating fighting in a refugee camp in the Syrian capital. The UN official in charge described it as "a completely catastrophic" humanitarian situation.
The council, after an emergency meeting, condemned "the grave crimes" committed by the Islamic State (Isil) group and al-Qa'ida-linked al-Nusra against civilians in the Yarmouk camp and said their crimes must not go unpunished.
It called for protection of the refugees, humanitarian access to the camp, and safe passage and evacuation of the civilians - and said it will look into further measures to help achieve this.
Pierre Krahenbuhl, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said "a significant percentage of civilians" are now in areas of the camp controlled by armed groups including the Islamic State group.
He said he had heard reports of beheadings in Yarmouk but was unable to verify them.