SIDON, Lebanon: high-level Palestinian delegation is expected to visit Lebanon and Syria bearing an initiative from Ramallah to protect refugee camps in both countries from the repercussions of the 22-month-old bloody conflict in Syria, Palestinian sources said Friday.
The delegation includes Zakariya Agha, a member of the PLO’s Executive and Central Committees, and Ahmad Majdalani, secretary-general of the Struggle Front, who are coming from Cairo. It is also comprised of participants from Amman: Majed Faraj, chief of Palestinian Public Intelligence; Bilal Qassem, from the Palestinian Liberation Front’s Political Bureau; and Omran Khatib, a member of the Central Council of the Arab Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They are all due to arrive in Lebanon Sunday.
The sources said they would all leave on the same day by land to Syria, where the delegation is scheduled to meet with Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad before meeting representatives of PLO factions and the pro-Syrian Palestinian groups.
The delegation’s meetings with both Mekdad and representatives of various Palestinian factions are aimed at broaching a plan on how to keep the Palestinian camps in Syria neutral in the ongoing fighting there between government troops and rebel groups, delegation sources told The Daily Star.
Among the proposals carried by the delegation is one calling for the formation of joint popular committees and a joint security framework among the Palestinian factions to spare Palestinian camps in Syria any negative repercussions from the crisis and not involve the camps in any events favoring any party in the conflict, the sources said.
Thousands of Palestinian refugees fled the Yarmouk camp near Damascus to Lebanon last month following fierce fighting in and around the camp between government forces and rebel groups seeking to topple the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Following their visit to Syria, the delegation will return to Beirut for talks with Lebanese officials on the conditions of Palestinian refugees who fled from Syria to Lebanon and how to provide them with aid needed to alleviate their suffering, the sources said.
During their stay in Beirut, the delegation will meet with Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, the head of General Security, and the director-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Lebanon.
The delegation is also scheduled to hold meetings with leaders of PLO and pro-Syrian factions at the Palestinian Embassy in Beirut with the participation of Ambassador Ashraf Dabbour.
Meanwhile, Azzam Ahmad, a member of the PLO’s and the Fatah Movement’s Central Committee, is due to visit Beirut in the next two days coming from Cairo to discuss the reverberations of the Syrian crisis on the Palestinian camps and also make some appointments in key positions within Fatah, sources told The Daily Star.