Press Release
Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari
August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today strongly condemned reported attacks by Syrian government naval and other military forces on civilian areas in the coastal city of Latakia. News reports suggest that approximately 25 Syrian and Palestinian civilians have been killed in the attacks throughout the city in recent days.

Christopher Gunness, the spokesman for UNRWA -- the UN agency charged with responsibility for Palestinian refugees -- said the agency had received reports from the Ramel district and Palestinian refugee camp in the south of the city that spoke of "fire from tanks which have encircled the area as well as fire from ships at sea." UNRWA today issued a statement expressing "grave concern" over reports of attacks on the camp. UNRWA said that, "Information from various sources indicates there have been deaths and injuries among the Palestinian refugees," and called for "unhindered access for humanitarian workers to help the injured and dying."

ATFP President Ziad Asali said "the use of naval forces and other heavy weaponry against Syrian and Palestinian civilians in Latakia is unconscionable and represents another serious escalation of repression by the Assad regime. The indiscriminate shelling and other attacks against Syrian and Palestinian civilians in Latakia, and the entire campaign of violent repression of protests in many parts of the country, are intolerable. Palestinian and Syrian civilians must not be subjected to such attacks and steps to ensure their safety are urgently required."

Dr. Asali noted that "Al-Ramel is one of many Palestinian refugee camps across the Middle East that have been targeted in numerous times in the past. Ultimately, the plight of Palestinian refugees can only resolved through a peace agreement that creates a Palestinian state alongside Israel."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017