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Germany arrests suspected Syrian war criminal

A 54-year-old Syrian from Berlin is accused of firing a grenade in Damascus in 2014 that killed at least seven people. German prosecutors have pursued several cases of war crimes.

German police arrested a Syrian man accused of committing war crimes in Damascus in Berlin on Wednesday.

German authorities have been investigating several similar cases as Syrian refugees seek justice for war crimes they experienced in their own country.

War crimes, murder, and assault

German prosecutors accuse the 54-year-old suspect of firing a grenade into a crowd of civilians gathered in a square in 2014.

The blast killed at least seven people and injured three, including a six-year-old boy.

“The accused is strongly suspected of having committed war crimes. In this context, he is also charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of grievous bodily harm,” the prosecutor said.

Former member of an armed militia

According to the prosecution, the man was a member of the Free Palestine Movement at the time of the attack. Previously, he was a member of the armed militia of the General Command of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP-GC).

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command was tasked by the Syrian regime with controlling the southern Damascus neighborhood of Yarmouk, which grew out of a Palestinian refugee camp.

Most of Yarmouk’s 160,000 inhabitants fled the city at the beginning of the Syrian war. Those who stayed behind faced severe food shortages under government siege.

UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, was able to distribute food in Yarmouk until April 2015, when Islamic State jihadists entered the area.

The victims were reportedly waiting for food from UNRWA when the suspects fired their grenades.

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