palestine refugees and the syria crisis
Well into its seventh year of conflict, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria remains one of the most violent, deadly, and volatile in recent history.
Amid unconscionable bloodshed, destruction, and limited humanitarian access, Palestine refugees suffer indiscriminate violence, restrictions on their freedom of movement, and continued violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Of the estimated 438,000 Palestine refugees remaining inside Syria, over 95% (418,000) are in critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance from UNRWA, including food, water, shelter, and medical assistance. Almost 254,000 are internally displaced, and an estimated 56,600 are trapped in hard-to-reach or besieged locations, such as Yarmouk, Yalda, Babila and Beit Sahem in Damascus; Ghouta in Rif Damascus; and Dera’a camp, Muzeirib and Jilien in southern Syria.
More than 120,000 Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) have fled the country, including around 32,500 to Lebanon and 17,000 to Jordan. Many face a precarious and marginalized existence due to their uncertain legal status and limited social protection mechanisms, making them heavily reliant on UNRWA for their basic needs.
UNRWA is the largest direct provider of assistance to Palestine refugees affected by the Syria conflict with almost 4,000 staff in Syria, refugees themselves, dedicating their lives to provide UNRWA services.
In 2018, UNRWA needs $409 million to continue to provide its services to close to half a million Palestine refugees affected by the crisis in Syria, including those displaced into Lebanon and Jordan.
UNRWA launched the 2018 Syria Emergency Appeal in the midst of a financial crisis, which was exacerbated by the US decision to cut back its funding from $350 million to $60 million with a stipulation that funds could not be used for UNRWA programming in Lebanon or Syria. In 2017, the US provided 60% of UNRWA total emergency funding in Syria. You can help fund UNRWA by donating here.
the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk camp, syria [updated as of april 26, 2018]
There has been a severe escalation in conflict affecting Yarmouk Camp, Damascus, where 160,000 Palestine refugees were once registered prior to 2012 and where today only a few hundred remain.
The area was first completely besieged in July 2013, resulting in massive food and medicine shortages. In January 2014, the siege was partially loosened, allowing some UNRWA access into the camp. A now famously tragic photo depicting thousands of refugees waiting in line for UNRWA assistance highlights the dire and haunting humanitarian conditions faced by refugees trapped in Yarmouk. UNRWA has been unable to access Yarmouk since 2015, when ISIS gained control of the area with the exception of itinerant access to provide emergency healthcare services.
Since April 19, over 5,000 of the estimated 6,000 refugees left Yarmouk following dramatic and lethal increases in violence. Thousands of homes have been destroyed and the last remaining hospital has been rendered inoperable and the remaining individuals are facing unimaginably difficult conditions without water, electricity, or medical services.
"It tragic symbol of immense human cost of Syrian conflict," says Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. UNRWA is prepared to provide emergency aid to fleeing refugee families as soon as security conditions permit.
Watch Pierre Krähenbühl's speech at the 2018 Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria and the region
related news, press releases, and articles
Al Jazeera: "UNRWA: 3,500 Palestinian refugees flee Syria's Yarmouk camp" - April 28, 2018
Al Jazeera: "Estimated 60 percent of Yarmouk destroyed amid violence" - April 27, 2018
Statement by Sami Mshasha and Chris Gunness: "UNRWA deeply concerned about the escalation of fighting and fate of thousands of Palestine refugees in Yarmouk camp and surrounding areas" - April 26, 2018
Reuters: "Syrian army pounds Palestinian camp; UN warns of dire conditions" - April 26, 2018
Reuters: "'Doomsday' as Syrian air strikes pound camp south of capital" - April 26, 2018
Al Jazeera: "Syria's Yarmouk camp: From a 'war on stomachs' to 'annihilation'" - April 24, 2018
The Electronic Intifada: "Civilians killed in ongoing bombing of Yarmouk" - April 24, 2018
Statement by UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl: "Palestine refugee children in Syria brave 'the checkpoint of death' for the sake of education and dignity" - April 23, 2018
IRIN News: "Civilians trapped in Yarmouk face 'unimaginable' end to siege" - April 23, 2018
Reuters: "Refugees in Syria short of food and medicine amid shelling: U.N." - April 18, 2018
keep up with the conversation
Watch Shahed's Journey from Syria
Shahed's Journey from Syria
The war in Syria has been raging for 7 years, displacing and devastating the lives of millions of innocent people. As a Palestine refugee from Syria, Shahed’s life has been shaken by displacement and conflict. Education was her lifeline. In the seventh year of the war, Shahed’s journey provides a hopeful message on the transformative power of her UNRWA education. Watch her story + learn more about Syria at: unrwausa.org/syria-facts #fundUNRWA #Syria7Posted by UNRWA USA on Wednesday, March 14, 2018