Abbas Seeking to Shelter Palestinian Refugees Fleeing Syria

The Palestinian president has asked the UN for help in bringing over the refugees, willing to take them into Palestinian territories; any such move would require Israel's consent.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is ready to take in Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria's civil war, the official Wafa news agency reported on Wednesday.

Abbas said he has asked United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help in bringing the refugees to the Palestinian territories. This could include the West Bank,where Abbas governs, or the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The request follows an attack by Syrian warplanes against a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.Some 450,000 Palestinian refugees live in 10 camps. Abbas specified in his statement that the Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus, "has been through a difficult situation due to the escalating conflict in Syria."

Any movement of refugees into the West Bank would need the consent of IsraelIsrael's Foreign Ministry had no comment.

The Lebanese-Syrian border witnessed Wednesday a new influx of Palestinian refugees displaced by fighting between rebels and government troops in Yarmouk south of Damascus, said Lebanese sources.

Around 60 Palestinian families have crossed into Lebanon since the early hours of Wednesday, a Lebanese border guard told dpa. The new arrivals will join some 2,000 Palestinians who have entered Lebanon in the past three days, according to estimates by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese General Security Department.

The international peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to visit Syria and Lebanon in the coming days for talks on the 21-month conflict, said a Lebanese government official on condition of anonymity. Brahimi's agenda in Lebanon will focus on the situation of Palestinian refugees who have escaped to the country from Syria, the official said.

The UN Relief and Works Agency said at least half of Yarmouk's registered population of 150,000 inhabitants had fled the violence.