U.N. condemns killings, calls for better access to Palestinian camp in Syria

October 21, 2016 3:15 PM EDT

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LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United Nations on Friday condemned the killing of four people as they tried to leave a Palestinian refugee camp near the Syrian capital and said tightened security around the camp meant residents face "grave risks" when trying to access aid.

Fighting around Khan Eshieh camp, home to about 8,000 Palestinian refugees, has intensified since May, said the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids Palestinian refugees across the region.

Two women, their driver and a baby were killed on Tuesday night when their car was hit by shell fire as they attempted to leave, UNRWA said in a statement.

Since May, 31 Palestinian refugees have been killed in the camp south of Damascus, and many more wounded, it said.

The U.N. agency said Khan Eshieh was at risk of becoming "another Yarmouk" - the refugee camp in Damascus devastated by years of fighting.

UNRWA called on warring parties to allow safe passage out of the camp for any residents wishing to leave. It called for full humanitarian access to Khan Eshieh to deliver emergency food, cash assistance and medicines.

(Reporting by Zabihullah Noori; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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