The Syrian regime has announced that it is preparing construction plans for the rebuilding of what was previously the country’s largest camp for Palestinian refugees, the famed Yarmouk camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus.
The camp, which was once known as “the capital of the Palestinian diaspora” due to the vast amount of Palestinian refugees who arrived in Syria following the Israeli occupation of Palestine, is reportedly to be rebuilt under new plans by the regime, according to the country’s pro-government newspaper Al Watan.
As the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011 due to the regime’s brutal treatment of protestors, the Yarmouk camp was eventually dragged into the conflict and fell to the opposition groups in 2012. Throughout the ensuing years, it became a net of competing opposition militant groups struggling for control over the camp, including Hayat Tahrir Al Sham and Daesh which came to dominate it.
It was then fully recaptured by the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad in April 2018 after a stifling campaign of aerial bombardment and strikes, causing most of the population in evacuate, turning it into a ruined suburban wasteland south of Damascus.
This new plan for the camp’s reconstruction is part of the regime’s overall aim to rebuild the infrastructure of the country after much of it was destroyed during the eight-year civil war. It has raised concerns and fears from many, however, that the process could result in the further razing of entire cities and towns and the displacement of millions of Syrians.
There are also concerns about the potential treatment of Syrians who could be resettled in the area following its reconstruction, with reports of arrests, detentions, torture and killings of Syrians who return to areas under the regime’s control.