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Amnesty International: 18 killed in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria

By Danielle Haynes
Amnesty International: 18 killed in Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria
The Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, is now under the control of Islamic State militants. Amnesty International said clashes between IS, Syrian forces and Palestinian groups have led to the deaths of 18 civilians, including a 12-year-old girl. Image courtesy UNRWA

DAMASCUS, Syria, April 8 (UPI) -- At least 18 people living in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria have died since Islamic State militants began an attack on the settlement last week, Amnesty International said.

Among the dead include a 12-year-old girl and a humanitarian worker, the human rights group said Wednesday.

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The Palestinian refugee camp came under attack by the terror group starting April 1 and since its complete takeover, Syrian forces have begun an aerial bombardment of the area.

Amnesty International said those who were killed came under sniper fire and were caught up in clashes between IS -- also identified by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL -- and Palestinian group Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis.

RELATED UN official: Syrian refugee camp 'beyond inhumane'

"For civilians still trapped in Yarmouk life is an agonizing struggle for survival. After enduring a crippling two-year-long government-imposed siege, now they are pinned down by sniper fire fearing for their lives as shelling and aerial attacks escalate," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

Meanwhile, IS militants and Syrian forces aren't allowing humanitarian aid to enter the camp, leaving the residents without medical assistance and basic necessities.

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"The main illnesses are heart and chest conditions, diarrhoea and infections -- and all are worsened by malnutrition. We have a severe lack of medicines and medical equipment and we have an urgent need for rehydration liquids, blood bags and antibiotics," a medical worker said, adding there have been multiple sniper and shelling injuries.

RELATED UN: Some refugees escape besieged Yarmouk camp in Syria

The 18,000 residents of Yarmouk were already in need of things like basic food and water prior to the fighting.

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