Palestinian refugees trickle back to Damascus camp

Associated Press
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In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 photo, Syrian rebel fighter Ibrahim Iaaa, 20, a former construction worker, poses for a picture following a training session in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria. The new Syrian rebel chief, a defected army general who spent months in exile, says he has begun operating inside Syria to unite autonomous anti-regime militias for what he hopes will be the final push against President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Palestinian refugees have started to trickle back to a Damascus camp as fighting there between Syrian troops and rebels subsided.

Officials say that negotiation are under way to arrange an exit from the camp for those rebels who remain inside amid fears that government troops could launch a new offensive to cleanse the area of opposition fighters.

More than two-thirds of Yarmouk's roughly 150,000 Palestinian residents left since fighting flared up last week. That's according to a U.N. refugee organization.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Yarmouk was quiet on Thursday and that "hundreds of people have returned."

Damascus-based Palestinian official Khaled Abdul-Majid told The Associated Press that Cairo-based Palestinian leaders are mediating to get the remaining rebels out of Yarmouk.