The Islamic State terror group has taken over a large part of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, reports indicate.
“Fighters from IS (Islamic State) launched an assault this morning on Yarmouk and they took over the majority of the camp,” Anwar Abdel Hadi, director of political affairs for the Palestine Liberation Organization in Damascus, told the Ma’an News Agency.
Islamic State “now controls large parts of the camp,” confirmed Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Reports of the Islamic State takeover mark the deepest incursion into Damascus by the jihadist group so far in the Syrian civil war, as well as a grave threat to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Yarmouk, once home to around 160,000 Palestinians, has been the scene of intense fighting between different factions during the four-year-long Syrian civil war. In early 2014, fighting between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian government as well as Palestinian groups led to most of the camp’s residents fleeing, leaving behind roughly 18,000 Palestinians who have faced widespread starvation, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).