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Tuesday
Aug162011

Palestinians Speak Out Against Syria

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) -- The Palestinians have added their voice to the growing number of Arab leaders who are criticizing Syria's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.  PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo issued a statement strongly condemning Syrian forces for shelling and raiding a Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia.

U.N. officials who run the Al-Raml camp say an estimated 5,000 Palestinians fled under fire and some did not make it out alive. They've demanded immediate access to the area to aid the injured, but that request is likely to fall on deaf ears.

Until this attack, Palestinian leaders in the West Bank had remained silent on the violence in neighboring Syria. So had Israeli-Arab lawmakers and Hamas officials in Gaza.  Syria is seen as an important ally, a loyal and fierce supporter of the Palestinians in their quest for an independent, sovereign state.  And Syria continues to supply weapons and money to terrorist groups which carry out attacks against Israel and preach its destruction, groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.  

But this Syrian assault on the Palestinian people has clearly broken the loyalty that may have kept leaders here in Ramallah quiet.  Like the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the gulf states, Jordan and Turkey, the Palestinian Authority is now speaking out against the Syrian regime's indiscriminate violence that human rights activists say has left nearly 2,000 dead.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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