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When Syria’s unrest began last year, the Palestinians struggled to stay on the sidelines. But in recent months, many Palestinians started supporting the uprising although they insisted the opposition to the regime should be peaceful.

The PFLP-GC, led by Ahmed Jibril, has remained loyal to Assad.

In a statement Wednesday, the Popular Committees that are led by the PFLP-GC in Yarmouk called on all Palestinian forces to close ranks in the face of the “terrorism that messes with the security of the Palestinian people and collides against the Palestinian cause.”

“Armed terrorist groups or the so-called Jabhat al-Nusra” are trying to infiltrate the camp, the statement also said, adding that two members of the committees were killed by mortars and one was wounded.

Jabhat al-Nusra is an al-Qaida-inspired group that has been fighting alongside rebel units.

While the rebels have been putting pressure on the capital from the south, there has also been a jump in assassinations in Damascus of prominent regime supporters.

The SANA state news agency said a “terrorist group” planted explosives under the car of Judge Abad Nadhwah when it was parked in front of his house Wednesday. The bomb was detonated remotely, killing the judge instantly. Assad’s government often refers to the opposition fighters as “terrorists.”

The assassination was the second in two days.

The brother of Syria’s parliament speaker was gunned down in the capital on Tuesday. A prominent actor, a Syrian-born Palestinian who was an outspoken supporter of Assad, was found dead on Sunday. The family of Mohammed Rafeh said his body bore gunshot wounds to the head, neck and shoulder.

In other violence, three people were killed and seven were injured in a separate attack in Damascus when a mortar round hit the upscale Mazzeh 86 district, SANA said. The neighborhood is predominantly populated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam that Assad and many in his regime belong to. Mazzeh 86 is located next to a largely Sunni Muslim district of Mazzeh.

The opposition and rebel forces are mostly Sunni Muslims.

In the Turkish capital Ankara, a Foreign Ministry official said Turkey and its allies, including the U.S., have discussed the possibility of using Patriot missiles to protect a zone inside Syria. The missiles are one of a number of scenarios being considered as a way to stop regime attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians, the official said. Planning was put on hold pending the U.S. election, but the issue is likely to be taken up now that Obama has won a second term, he added, saying any missile deployment might happen under a “NATO umbrella.”

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI said during a public audience that he has dropped plans to send a mission to Syria, saying “unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances and developments, it was not possible to carry out this initiative as planned.”

The Pope is instead sending a delegation to neighboring Lebanon to coordinate relief efforts for Syrian refugees and those needing help inside the country.

Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.