Fierce clashes between ISIS and al-Nusra Front erupted this week in the Yarmouk refugee camp as the two extremist groups fight for control of the strategic area on the outskirts of Damascus.
Fighting between the two groups in the area they worked to take over together in April 2015 is indicative of the steadily widening gap between the former allies.
Yarmouk’s strategic location has made it a flashpoint for battles between Assad’s forces and armed opposition groups for months. But residents fear this new fighting could decimate the remaining civilian population.
Home to both Palestinian refugees and Syrians, the camp in southern Damascus was once home to some 200,000 people. Residents and local monitoring groups estimate that only some 5,000 civilians remain.
Battles over the past week have set nearly 20 homes ablaze, and ISIS militants set fire to one of the camp’s two remaining hospitals, according to [Al Jazeera](https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/isil-nusra-put-yarmouk-civilians-line-fire-160414065149261).
More than 50 ISIS and 12 Nusra militants have been killed since clashes began on April 7. Four civilians were killed; two were reportedly beheaded by ISIS.
While ISIS now controls most of the camp, Palestinian factions, some of which are aligned with the Syrian government, and al-Nusra Front still maintain control of key areas and entrances.
Yarmouk’s residents called Wednesday for a six-hour cease-fire between ISIS and al-Nusra so that they can evacuate injured civilians and allow for the distribution of much-needed food and medical aid.
There is an acute lack of basic necessities, particularly drinking water.
The following statement details the demands that have been shared online by different Yarmouk camp Facebook pages:
Reports of the conflict continue to emerge across social media:
This article was produced in collaboration with Meedan.