Isis has reportedly begun beheading captives after taking over the majority of a large Palestinian refugee camp in Syria.
UN officials said scenes on the ground in the Yarmouk camp just south of Damascus were “beyond inhumane”, as rebels from the so-called Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra vied for control of the camp, which houses around 18,000 civlians.
The attack on Yarmouk began last Wednesday, and according to local activist Hatem al-Dimashqi clashes and the sounds of shelling continued on Easter Monday.
According to an update over the weekend from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attackers killed nine members of the Palestinian militant group which defends the camp, and captured and beheaded two of them.
Both Al-Dimashqi and the Observatory also accused the Syrian government of dropping several barrel bombs on the camp since Sunday, as they attempted to repel Isis’s most advanced foray yet towards the Syrian capital.
Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees known as UNRWA, said last night that the agency had not been able to send any food or convoys into the camp since the fighting started.
“That means that there is no food, there is no water and there is very little medicine,” he said.
“The situation in the camp is beyond inhumane. People are holed up in their houses, there is fighting going on in the streets. There are reports of ... bombardments. This has to stop and civilians must be evacuated.”
The UN says that of around 18,000 civilians in the camp, including a large number of children, just 93 have been evacuated so far. It has been under government siege for nearly two years, leading to starvation and illnesses, but Gunness said things “only got worse when the fighting engulfed the camp”.