The United Nations says tens of thousands of longtime Palestinian refugees in a camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital have been cut off from emergency aid for nearly two months by armed groups that are preventing access. Nathan Frandino reports.
Once again the devastated Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria is on its own. The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees says armed groups are preventing access, leaving up to 18,000 people stranded as food, water and medicine become scarce. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PIERRE KRAEHENBUEHL, HEAD OF THE U.N.'S AGENCY FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES, UNRWA, SAYING: "The situation has deteriorated again as a result also of armed groups acting inside, creating an environment today that has made it today more difficult to distribute assistance. We really haven't been able to bring in any assistance since early December." Last year armed groups reached a deal to allow the UN into Yarmouk, which before Syria's conflict was home to more than half a million Palestinian refugees. But with neverending fighting, those who stayed face worsening conditions. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PIERRE KRAEHENBUEHL, HEAD OF THE U.N.'S AGENCY FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES, UNRWA, SAYING: "There is a deep sense of uncertainty about the future and the Palestine refugees have tried to their best extent to remain neutral in the entire equation, not to become involved in the political polarization and I think that is what they will try to continue to do. But I think like every family they hope for to something to become more peaceful and so they can try to reassemble their lives and do something with it." On Friday children in Yarmouk staged a mock funeral to call attention to their plight. Amateur video which can not be independently verified showed them calling for food and comfort -- and the simple chance for a childhood.