At least 15 Palestinians have died of hunger, since September, in a besieged refugee camp in the Syrian capital of Damascus, according to UN sources. (Palestinian News Network/AFP)“Reports have come in over the weekend that at least five Palestinian refugees in the besieged refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus have died because of malnutrition, bringing the total number of reported cases to 15,” UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP.

He went on to warn of a deteriorating situation in the camp, where some 20,000 Palestinians are trapped, with limited food and medical supplies.

According to the PNN, most of Yarmouk camp, in southern Damascus, is under the control of the armed opposition, and it has been under siege by Assad loyalists for about a year.

The blockade has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, and the exodus of tens of thousands of the camp’s 170,000 residents.

Furthermore, on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO reported that five people in the camp had died of malnutrition, including an elderly man, a disabled man and one woman.

UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi warned, earlier this month, ‘If this situation is not addressed urgently, it may be too late to save the lives of thousands of people including children.”

Syria is now officially home to nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees, about half of whom have been displaced by the conflict which broke out in March of 2011, becoming refugees for the second time.

More than 126,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict.