Palestinians reject Syrian army offensive to drive Daesh from Damascus refugee camp
The Yarmouk refugee camp has been devastated by the civil war in Syria (File-AFP)
The Palestinian Liberation Organization has rejected the notion of participating in the conflict in Syria's Yarmouk camp, ruling out involvement in a joint military operation with the Syrian regime to expel Daesh, the Agence France Presse reports.
It came just hours after Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO official currently in Damascus for talks, said 14 Palestinian factions supported the idea of a joint military operation with the Syrian army to expel the Daesh militants from the camp where more than 15,000 people, mostly Palestinian refugees, are currently trapped.
But the PLO said its traditional position of non-involvement had not changed.
"We refused to drag our people and their camps into the hellish conflict which is happening in Syria and we categorically refuse to become one of the parties involved in the armed conflict that is taking place in Yarmouk," the statement said.
"We refuse to be drawn into military actions, whatever or wherever they are, and we call for other means to ensure the safety of lives in Yarmouk and to prevent more destruction and forced displacement."
Majdalani had initially said that Palestinian forces would work in an "integrated" fashion "with the Syrian state to clear the camp of terrorists."
Daesh fighters entered the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus last week, quickly capturing large swathes of the district and prompting international concern for the welfare of the camp residents.
Once home to 160,000 Syrian and Palestinians, Yarmouk has been heavily affected by violence since late 2012, causing the camp to shrink to around 18,000 residents.
Since the Daesh assault on April 1, around 2,500 people have managed to escape and have given disturbing accounts of the atrocities perpetrated inside the camp by the jihadi forces.
The Palestinian leadership has frequently said it "would not get involved in [internal] Syrian affairs."