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Syrian cleric condemns 'flagrant looting' after regime captured Yarmouk Open in fullscreen

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Syrian cleric condemns 'flagrant looting' after regime captured Yarmouk

The offensive for Yarmouk has left the neighbourhood catastrophically damaged [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 May, 2018

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A Syrian cleric has condemned government troops and allied militias for looting homes in the recently recaptured Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.

A Syrian cleric loyal to the regime has condemned government troops and allied militias for looting homes in the recently recaptured Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Omari made on the remarks on Wednesday on his Facebook page before deleting the critical post, opposition news website Zaman al-Wasl  reported.

"The victory was achieved by the grace of God then by the wise leadership," Omari, a Palestinian Syrian, said.

"But the flagrant looting has frustrated people. This has hurt the feeling of many people, especially the families of the martyrs and wounded who have risen to defend the country,"

Omari also appealed to President Bashar al-Assad to take action to stop regime troops from looting in the Damascus district.

Regime troops and allied militias have long been accused of pillaging civilian homes after capturing rebel-held areas.

Syrian troops seized control of Yarmouk and other neighbourhoods in the south of the capital Damascus on Monday after a month-long assault against the Islamic State group.

The offensive for Yarmouk has left the neighbourhood, once home to about 200,000 Palestinian refugees, catastrophically damaged.

Yarmouk has been so heavily battered by fighting that it was hard to picture daily life restarting there, the United Nations' Palestine refugee agency (UNRWA) said on Tuesday.

"Today Yarmouk lies in ruins, with hardly a house untouched by the conflict," spokesman Chris Gunness said.

Fighting over the years had whittled down Yarmouk's population to just hundreds by the time Syria's army began its assault last month.

Gunness said between 100 to 200 civilians were estimated to still be in Yarmouk, including people too old or sick to flee.

Yarmouk was, for decades, a bustling district where both Palestinians and Syrians lived.

It was placed under crippling siege a year after the uprising began in 2011.

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