Islamic State has taken control of 90 percent of a Palestinian refugee camp on the Damascus outskirts where 18,000 civilians have suffered years of bombing, army siege and militia control, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

The hardline group’s offensive in Yarmouk gives it a major presence in the capital. Islamic State, the most powerful insurgent group in Syria, is now only a few kilometers from President Bashar al-Assad’s seat of power.

The United Nations has said it is extremely concerned about the safety and protection of Syrians and Palestinians in the camp. Civilians trapped there have long suffered a government siege that has led to starvation and disease. […]