Humanitarian aid reaches displaced Yarmouk civilians

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The UN delivered emergency aid supplies to Yarmouk residents displaced in the nearby town of Beit Sahem for the first time on Sunday as it attempts to scale up its relief operations to deal with the recent crisis in the Palestinian camp, a local citizen journalist told Syria Direct on Monday. The relief efforts only targeted Palestinians displaced from Yarmouk and did not benefit local residents, said Walid Agatha, the Beit Sahem-based activist. Agatha’s account contradicted UNRWA’s statement on Sunday’s delivery, which said that “those receiving assistance are comprised of Palestinian and Syrian families displaced or affected by conflict, plus host families.” Syria Direct could not independently confirm Agatha’s claim. The delivery comes in the wake of the UN’s increased efforts to serve those fleeing from fighting caused by the Islamic State’s invasion of the camp at the beginning of the month. The UN has not been able to enter Yarmouk since fighting began, instead distributing aid to the nearby towns of Yelda, Babila and Beit Sahem, where the majority of Yarmouk residents have fled. Recent reports say that IS has withdrawn from the camp, but YouTube videos and activists inside indicate otherwise, although it is unclear how much of a presence it currently has.