UNRWA Syria crisis situation update Issue 37, 8 March 2013

Regional overview

The humanitarian situation in Syria is dire and continues to deteriorate rapidly forcing many Palestine refugees and Syrians into displacement and destitution. Armed clashes continue throughout Syria, particularly in Rif Damascus Governorate, Aleppo and Dera'a. With external flight options restricted, Palestine refugees in Syria remain a particularly vulnerable group. As the armed conflict has progressively escalated since the launch of UNRWA's Syria Crisis Response 2013, the number of Palestine refugees in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance has risen to over 400,000 individuals. The number of Palestine refugees from Syria who have fled to Jordan has reached 4,569 individuals and approximately 32,000 refugees are in Lebanon.

Syria

At a glance:

  • Conflict continues throughout most of the country, with intense fighting reported around Aleppo airport, severely restricting access to Neirab camp. At least two refugees were killed as a result of hostilities in the area.

  • Hostilities also continued around eastern and southern Damascus / Rif Damascus Governorate, including in the vicinity of camps in Yarmouk, Sbeineh, Seyeda Zainab and Husseiniyah. Violence in these areas have led to the death this week of at least 16 refugees, including two refugees killed by hanging in Yarmouk.

  • An UNRWA area staff member is missing and was last seen returning from work to his home. The staff member's father was killed when he went looking for his son.

  • An UNRWA school in Husseiniyah in the Damascus area was recently looted by unknown individuals.

  • On a more positive note, UNRWA organized distribution of food items to Palestine refugees who remain in Yarmouk. This was the first direct humanitarian activity in Yarmouk since early December 2012 and it is tentatively expected to be completed in a week. The achievement required cooperation with GAPAR and a federation of local Palestinian charities. The mediation of the Office of the Joint Special Representative (OJSR) was instrumental.

  • Parts of Dera'a town continue to see frequent clashes and shelling, at times in the immediate vicinity of our camp and the area office. To a lesser extent, hostilities also continue around Homs and Hama.