1472 Palestinians murdered in Syrian conflict 13Aug13 August 13, 2013

Palestine News Network    -     12 August 2013

screen_shot_340_220Alray reports that a Palestinian youth, Khaled Fares was killed near Khan Danon Refugee camp in Syria during continuous shelling by the Syrian army.  Yarmouk refugee camp was bombed by the regime during a clash with the Free Syrian Army, causing substantial damage to homes. 

Yarmouk is still blockaded by the Syrian Army, disabling the arrival of aid, including food, medicine, and fuel. 

These stories, unfortunately, are far too common.  Most of Palestinian refugees who fled to the Syrian Arab Republic in 1948 were from the northern part of Palestine, mainly from Safad and the cities of Haifa and Jaffa. A further 100,000 people, including Palestinian refugees, fled from the Golan Heights to other parts of Syria when the area was occupied by Israel.

Over half a century after Israel’s first occupation of Palestine, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians continue to be displaced, thousands are killed, and many are stateless.  The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Filippo Grandi, told a meeting of stakeholders that seven out of the twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Syria have become “theatres of war”.  Killings, kidnappings, poverty, destruction, and fear have become part of daily life,” he said.

Currently, 530,000 Palestinian refugees are registered in Syria.  According to UNRWA they live in twelve camps, with approximately 118 schools serving over 66,000 students and 23 health centers.  Half the Palestinian refugees have been secondarily displaced in the face of the Syrian conflict.  15% have been forced to flee abroad; 71,000 fled to Lebanon and over 6,000 to Jordan in an attempt to escape recent hardships in Syria.  Another 200 families fled to the Gaza Strip, despite  the Costal Enclave’s daily realities of siege and occupation.   

In March, the Taskforce for Palestinians in Syria reported that over 1,377 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian conflict.  That number is thought to have increased significantly since then.

“The distress of Palestine refugees in Syria and displaced from Syria has given the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process an added, and very stark dimension. For refugees, this might well be another tragic turning point. They feel it very strongly. Because across the lands of their painful and protracted exile, Palestinians are connected to each other by their history, their present and their future. The loss of camps in Syria and the uncertainty that it has wrought, are suffered by all, just as the bombardments in Gaza,” Grandi concluded.

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