Syrian rebels arm Palestinians against Assad


news.yahoo.com

Syrian rebels said on Wednesday they had begun arming sympathetic Palestinians to fight a pro-Assad faction in a Palestinian enclave in Damascus - a move which could fuel spiraling intra-Palestinian violence.

Two rebel commanders told Reuters they expected their Palestinian allies to fight the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) which dominates the Yarmouk enclave – a one-time refugee camp turned sprawl of apartment blocks which is run by the Palestinians themselves.

“We’ve been arming Palestinians who are willing to fight…We have formed the Liwa al-Asifah (the Storm Brigade)which is made up of Palestinian fighters only,” a rebel commander from the Suqour al-Golan (Golan Falcons) brigade said.

“Its task is to be in charge of the Yarmouk camp. We all support it and back it,” he told Reuters.

Yarmouk lies at the heart of several southern Damascus districts which have seen heavy fighting between the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The Palestinians would be expected to attack fighters loyal to PFLP-GC chief Ahmed Jibril, who Syrian rebels accuse of harassing and attacking them to support Assad.

“Now they (the PFLP-GC fighters) are targets for us, targets for all the FSA. All of them with no exceptions,” said another rebel commander who asked not to be named.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, mostly descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions.

But Syria’s uprising has split Palestinian loyalties, with many ordinary Palestinians sympathetic to the uprising by their fellow Sunnis.

The Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement closed its offices in Damascus earlier this year.

Palestinians have in any case been riven by factionalism for decades, their differences exacerbated by the 1975-1990 civil war in neighboring Lebanon, where they also have a strong presence. Intra-Palestinian fighting in Syria could lead to similar tensions in Lebanon.

BOMB ATTACK IN YARMOUK

Residents at Yarmouk, home to about 150,000 Palestinians, said gunmen had been seen in the streets and some people kidnapped in recent days, eight of whom had been killed. It was not clear who was responsible.

A bomb exploded on Wednesday under the car of a Syrian army colonel in Yarmouk, although he was not in the vehicle, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Syrian rebel commander claimed responsibility, calling it a “gift to Jibril’s people which will be followed by others”.

Syria hosts many Palestinian factions which fought Israel and also each other in the 1970s and 1980s. Some like Fatah, the group of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, fought Syrian forces in Lebanon during the civil war and its fighters still bear a grudge against Assad and his late father, Hafez al-Assad.

The creation of a Palestinian rebel group could mark an opportunity to settle historic scores with the Assad dynasty.

Palestinians officials in Syria refused to comment while a Palestinian official in Lebanon said: “We do not want any Palestinian involvement in the incidents in Syria, what is happening there is an internal matter.”

Activists estimate that at least 32,000 people have been killed in the 19-month revolt against Assad.

RELATED–

Syria rebels bring fight to pro-Assad Palestinians

news.yahoo.com

Syrian rebels said on Wednesday they had formed a brigade of sympathetic Palestinians in a Damascus district to fight armed Palestinians aligned with President Bashar al-Assad.

About 150,000 Palestinian refugees live in the Syrian capital’sYarmouk camp, a sprawling area of concrete apartment blocks, where some residents support the 19-month-old uprising against Assad and others fight alongside Syrian soldiers.

“We’ve been arming Palestinians who are willing to fight … We have formed Liwa al-Asifah (Storm Brigade) which is made up of Palestinian fighters only,” a rebel commander from the Suqour al-Golan (Golan Falcons) brigade told Reuters.

“Its task is to be in charge of the Yarmouk camp. We all support it and back it,” he added.

Rebels said they and the new brigade will attack Yarmouk fighters loyal to Ahmed Jibril, head of the Syrian-sponsored Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), accusing Jibril’s men of harassing camp residents and attacking Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.

“Now they are targets for us, targets for all the FSA. All of them with no exceptions,” said another Syrian rebel commander who asked not to be named.

Some PFLP-GC fighters had handed their weapons to the rebels, the commander said, calling on others to follow suit and threatening to assassinate pro-Assad figures.

Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, mostly descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions.

But Syria’s uprising has split Palestinian loyalties, with many joining anti-Assad protests. The Islamist Palestinian Hamas movement closed its offices in Damascus earlier this year.

A bomb exploded early on Wednesday under the car of a Syrian army colonel in Yarmouk, but he was not in the vehicle and there were no casualties, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict.

It was not clear if the incident was related to the tension between Syrian rebels and Palestinian factions in Yarmouk.

More than 180 people were killed in Syria on Tuesday, many of them in government air strikes, the Observatory said.

It estimates that at least 32,000 people have been killed since March 2011 when peaceful protests against Assad’s rule erupted. They were violently repressed, leading to a civil war.

  1. #1 by wad on November 1, 2012 - 7:07 pm

    this is to painful to bear… Palestinians so desperate to fight with dignity.. against anyone being lead to aid in their own destruction against one of their few true allies…. oh the shame..

  2. #2 by johan on November 2, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    this is a zionist jew dream,divide & destroy.

  3. #3 by Ingrid B on November 2, 2012 - 3:13 pm

    Palestinian fighting Palestinian, Sunni fighting Shia, and the Jews are laughing their asses off, I give up..

  4. #4 by michael mazur on November 3, 2012 - 1:28 am

    I too give up; this is a unwitting regression by those Palestinians to an homunculus stage of our common human mythical origins as individuals, thus erasing the memory of 65yrs of misery and struggle at the hands of the very oppressor whose brainchild this shooting of one’s own is, who, disguised, infiltrated as a member of the FSA the better to deceive.

    Yes, on reading this, Netanyahu, Barak, Livni and Olmert, will put aside their party differences and pop a cork for this one.

    Btw, on a lighter note, that underage boy has slender shoulders, easily will get bruised by the recoil of the NATO 7.62 ammo in that lightweight rifle – but that will be the least of his problems.

  5. #5 by Isaac on November 3, 2012 - 3:14 am

    This is absolutely outrageous. The diabolical Mossad has infiltrated the most vulnerable part of the Palestinian society. That is what they want to do. create chaos, divide and blow them into pieces.

  6. #6 by Ingrid B on November 4, 2012 - 2:38 pm

    @Isaac, MOSSAD, yes, but those who laughingly call themselves Palestinian “leadership”, are, in my opinion, just as much to blame. They are timewasters, and traitors, of the worst kind..

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