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Palestinians begin returning to Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria (+video)

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(Read caption) GENEVA (AFP) - The UN appealed Wednesday for $1.5 billion to help Syrians fleeing the fighting, warning that the number of refugees in neighbouring countries could double to a million by June. Duration: 01:01
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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Refugees have started returning to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Syria after fighting between rebels and government-allied forces sent them fleeing, but the status of the Palestinian refugees, along with hundreds of thousands of others displaced by the Syrian conflict, remains a top concern for observers outside the country.

The Associated Press reports that, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, "hundreds of people have returned" to Yarmouk after fighting between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad drove out as many as two-thirds of the camp's 150,000 residents by United Nations estimates.

The battle at Yarmouk, located in southern Damascus, began Dec. 14, as pro-Assad Palestinian fighters attacked anti-Assad Palestinian rebels based in the camp. Al Jazeera English reported yesterday that although Syrian troops did not participate in the fighting within the camp, they provided support to the pro-Assad fighters, cutting off the camp from the outside and launching air strikes into the camp, which reportedly killed at least eight people on Dec. 16.

Al Jazeera noted that pro-Assad newspaper Al-Watan reported earlier this week that the government was preparing for a major assault on Yarmouk.

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