The situation in Yarmouk (if not in all the region) is so surreal, that I neither can imagine nor describe it without feeling as if I'm drunk or having drug-induced hallucinations. It all looks incoherent to me.
The Syrian government helped "Hamas" for decades, and had suffered international sanctions because of this. It supported them, and gave them safe haven when every other Arab nation refused.
The Syrian government trained Hamas in digging underground tunnels to fight Israel, as a resistance movement. Then the "Arab Spring" started, and the leaders of "Hamas", who are "Muslim Brotherhood" in origin, changed loyalties, thanks to the temptation of the money of Qatar; the allurement of the Great Neo-Ottoman Erdogan; and the glamour of ruling the whole Middle East, starting with Egypt and Tunisia (by their fellow Muslim Brotherhood). They thought they had become a Super Power that didn't need Iranian aid anymore, nor a haven in Syria, nor Hezbollah's training.
It would have been way better if they had just left Syria when it needed friends to stay with it in this time of crisis, or if they had just become neutral and not joined the government or the rebels.
Instead, they stabbed the government in the back! Using all the techniques that had been taught by Syrians, Lebanese, and Iranians to use against the Israelis, they used them against Syrians! They spread the "knowledge" of digging tunnels and taught it to the Free Syrian Army and all those crazy rebels; they taught them how to make bombs in a certain way which both Hezbollah and Syrian intelligence knew that no other Hamas knew!
Then, they created a military faction called "Aknaf Beit al-Maqdes # The Environs of Jerusalem" (ABM), between 26th of Dec 2012 - early Mar 2013, who occupied Al-Yarmouk Refugee Camp and used it as their base against the Syrian government. Their name should mean that they would fight in Jerusalem, not in a refugee camp in Damascus, but that is logic, and we are talking about living a surreal nightmare where nothing makes any sense! That ABM prevented any relations with the Syrian government on grounds that it was going to fall sooner or later, or because it was "infidel", and they don't need its help! People in the camp started to starve, and many died because of extreme starvation as there was no way for food to come in!
Dozen of conciliation attempts had been rejected at the last minute because of the moody and elusive ABM militia, while blaming it on the "murderer regime" of the mainstream media. The Syrian Government chose to use other Palestinian movements to try to regain the camp from the ABM, and the Syrian Arab Army (Syria's army) besieged the whole camp to keep it isolated from Damascus, although it's not that easy because the camp is almost a part of the greater Damascus today. Before these crises, unless you were one of the camp's inhabitants, you would not have known whether you were inside or outside the camp's borders.
In 1948 and 1967 Yamouk was 8 km away from Damascus, but not anymore because of the urban expansion through the intervening decades. The Syrian president didn't want to be involved in a war against any Palestinian movement, because he didn't want history to say that he had once killed a Palestinian refugee. They were defending Damascus city when necessary, and they preferred other loyal Palestinian movements to do the work. (A minor scale proxy war? So be it).
All that time though, Hamas refused to admit their relationship with the ABM militias, claiming that they were individuals from Hamas who took their own decisions, and that they weren't coordinating with the head of Hamas. Everyone though knew that no other than the notorious Khaled Mish'al, one of the main heads of Hamas, who lived in Syria for more than a decade (2001-2012) and who is living today in Qatar, was the creator of the ABM! A few days ago, Mesh'al reportedly made contact with one the leaders of loyal Palestinian resistance movements in Damascus, Ahmed Jibril, asking for them to assist the ABM against ISIL! For 2 years, he maintained that ABM were not part of Hamas, but lately, he seems more responsible and aware.
Many other nearby towns and small cities had succeeded in conciliation attempts, agreeing that all the armed gangs of "al-Nusra / al-Qa'eda" could leave peacefully to go to other areas. There was a government plan to push them out to some arid areas where there were no civilians, where fighting would be easier and civilian causalities would not be involved.
So, where did these armed gangs go? Right to Yarmouk Refugee Camp, where the ABM greeted them like brothers!
Well, those very "brothers" (who included Palestinians, Syrians, and multinational foreigners) pledged allegiance to no one but the wealthy ISIL, which pays way more than any other terrorist group these days, and which was in the nearby town of el-Hajar el-Aswad.
From el-Hajar el-Aswad, 400 ISIL militants invaded the Refugee Camp at night, in the early hours of April the 1st, where another 200 Nusra fighters joined them, and started their usual orgy of killing against whoever remained of the unfortunate people and the elusive ABM fighters.
The outcome was that ABM fighters divided into 3 factions: One division joined ISIL; the other resisted it and fought it; and the third surrendered to the loyal Palestinian parties who besieged the camp, and therefore, to the Syrian Army.
ISIL had invaded most of the camp, and its members beheaded the very elusive heads of ABM militias. They removed the Palestinian flags from the tops of the buildings and trampled them!
The population of Yarmouk before the Syrian crisis was around 150,000. Although mostly Palestinians, many Syrians lived there as well, as individual Syrian families or through intermarriage with Palestinians. Most of them fled within the last few years. Some even made it all the way to Gaza. There they suffered in the last war with Israel, so that they said wherever they go the war is running after them. Some of them left for other areas in Syria. Some left Syria completely. Some went to Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where they discovered the great difference between Palestinian Refugee camps in Syria and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. In Syrian refugee camps they lived well, with full rights except for voting and citizenship, just like the holders of Green Cards in the U.S., or Permanent Residence in Canada, and a special passport which permitted them to travel. They were entitled to free education and health care, like any Syrian citizen. In the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon they had only minimum rights as human beings, not including the right to work They suffered from the double racial stigma of being both Syrian and Palestinian - the very two nationalities that are so hated by half the Lebanese. (That is another long story for another time.)
After all these events, the number left in Yarmouk before ISIL invasion was less than 20,000.
Now, because ISIL is in the camp, it's a completely different story for the Syrian Arab Army. They won't wait until ISIL becomes a threat to Damascus. The Palestinian authority in Ramallah has told the Syrian government to do whatever they need to do. [ 1 ] That means the refugee camp is likely to be flattened like a parking lot very soon, unfortunately.
Hamas has a different attitude. They are asking all fighting parties in the camp to stop the bloodshed between the "brothers"! I bet they are still going to use any Syrian attack against the camp as another smear to demonize the Syrian "regime"!
As PLO Secretary Khaled ‘Abdel-Majeed reportedly said, "If the Syrian Arab Army were dropping perfume they would probably be accused of using chemical weapons". Those mysterious "Barrel Bombs" sound as if they are way more dangerous than any atomic bomb in the mainstream media! Like parrots, they keep talking about that elusive weapon as if it was the most dangerous weapon ever used in wars! [ 2 ]
Israel is living its real Spring! One of the main goals of that war on Syria, was to destroy the Palestinian refugee suburbs (known as camps) in it, and to create hatred and enmity between Palestinians and Syrians. Each Palestinian refugee camp in Syria and other surrounding states is a memory for the people. They are stubs and seeds for future resistance against Israel, a motivation for all Palestinians to go back home one day in the future.
No wonder that those camps have been attacked everywhere in Syria, for no reason but to scatter their inhabitants and turn them into double and triple refugees, and maybe, to leave that land and go as far away as Latin America, where they do indeed accept Palestinian refugees !!!
But, Israel didn't carry out these acts itself. It had a proxy war. Coordinating with the entire Axis (NATO, Gulf states, ISIL), they succeeded in one of their goals. Whether Hamas knew that and didn't mind because it was drunk with sectarianism and filthy petro-dollars; or they didn't know and thought that they were doing the right thing for their people: the result is a complete catastrophe for Palestinians!
Today, most Syrians say that they don't care about Palestine anymore, and to let them go and liberate their country themselves! I refuse to say so, because I know that this is exactly what Israel wants, however I have a real problem with few of Hamas's corrupted heads and leaders. If the movement doesn't kick them out, or split from Hamas and create another group under another name, there will be no solution for that complex problem.
The wound is so deep, and such treason usually has no cure for many generations to come. I heard for the last eight months that a split has already happened inside Hamas, as the people fighting on the ground in Gaza are very upset with their corrupted leaders in Qatar and Turkey. The fighters in Gaza still have good relations with both Iran and Hezbollah, while their leaders do not, and still have a dream of the Muslim Brotherhood controlling states and countries, thinking this to be an opportunity that comes once a century. They can't let it go without gambling all their resources on it. Turkey and Qatar would make Khaled Mesh'al live in five star hotels with a seven digit bank account, way better than the life of Yarmouk Refugee Camp.
But neither Turkey or Qatar will give him a bullet to fight Israel.
Plus these states are blackmailing those leaders and putting pressure on them by using the People Cards: They are ready to rebuild Gaza, and to feed the Palestinians, but that is not for free. In exchange, I guess, they have to turn into a political authority, just like the one in Ramallah, and get rid of their arms and missiles. More illusions, more promises, more wishful thinking and blah blah blah.
We all saw what happened after the Oslo Accords in the early 90's till today: NOTHING! Or let's say, nothing for the Palestinians, while ongoing benefits for the Israelis.
It's a surreal situation that shows how stupid humans can become. On the subject of Palestinians, the Israeli-Gulf-NATO axis has won and succeeded 100%, unfortunately.
With regard to the mythical and legendary weapon of "Barrel Bombs"! It seems that everyone in the whole world is talking about these weapons, and I wonder why, if such a powerful weapon exists in Syria, why the Syrians didn't use it against Israel to liberate the Golan Heights at least? Or is this mythical weapon a pretext to try to prevent he Syrian army from using its airforce against the terrorists? What should the Syrian army use? Swords and Daggers ? It's a war, and it's a very dirty one, against criminal terrorists that have no mercy in their hearts. Those terrorists are launching daily random shells from what they called "Hell Cannon". Hell Cannon is a weapon used against civilians, as a punishment because they didn't join the "Blessed Revolution", and because they supported the "Infidel Regime"! The UN doesn't see those arms, nor the slaughtering, nor the massacres, nor the suicide bombers in children's schools and busy markets. It sees only the mighty "Barrel Bombs"!