The situation in Syria continued to deteriorate this week with a sharp escalation in hostilities reaching the centre of Damascus. Palestine refugees and Syrians alike can no longer meet their basic needs, particularly in conflict-affected areas of Rif Damascus Governorate and Aleppo. With external flight options restricted, Palestine refugees remain a particularly vulnerable group. As a result of the escalation in violence since the launch of UNRWA's Syria Crisis Response 2013, the number of Palestine refugees in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance has reached over 400,000 individuals. This number is rising daily due to the spread of violence including to the centre of Damascus. Violence in Syria has also resulted in approximately 4,092 Palestine refugees who have fled to Jordan. The number of Palestine refugees who have fled to Lebanon is rapidly approaching 30,000 individuals.
At a glance:
- Hostilities escalate in the centre of Damascus, including shelling allegedly targeting the Ministry of Defense and clashes in the Barzeh neighbourhood;
- The situation remains volatile and unpredictable in camps in Yarmouk and other camps in the Damascus/Rif Damascus Governorate;
- Over 14,000 families in Damascus and Aleppo areas were provided with emergency cash assistance during the month of February;
- Food insecurity is deepening in the Aleppo area due to restricted humanitarian access;
Since March 2011, UNRWA's network of staff and humanitarian assets have been put to use in providing 28,652 refugee households with food parcels, 13,605 mattresses, 25,752 blankets, 2,536 hygiene kits and cash assistance to nearly 60,000 families.
Currently, there are 8,765 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA facilities in Syria. The IDPs are unable to afford alternative shelter and are dependent on humanitarian aid for their basic needs. Almost half of them are children and there are 69 elderly IDPs and 99 pregnant women, 19 of whom are close to term.