Over 30,000 Palestine refugees face ‘dire’ conditions in southern Syria, UNRWA says

A girl looks through abandoned belongings in the rubble on the streets of the Palestinian Yarmuk refugee camp, near Damascus (Louai Beshara - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 17, 2021

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) yesterday warned that more than 30,000 Palestinian refugees have become more “vulnerable” following the recent fighting in Daraa, southern Syria.

On 25 June, Syrian regime forces and affiliated militias besieged the town of Daraa after opposition groups refused to hand over light weapons in accordance with a 2018 agreement, which was limited to handing over heavy and medium weapons.

UNRWA said in a statement that heavy shelling and fighting since 29 July have caused loss of life, injury, and the displacement of many hundreds of vulnerable families and reduced its ability to provide vital services.

According to the statement, more than 600 Palestinian refugee families – 3,000 individuals – now reside in or around the camp, with more than half the families living inside the camp where humanitarian conditions are dire.

The statement said the closure of the main humanitarian crossing – Saraya – on 30 July, depleted medical and food stocks, including bread, since 2 August, adding that water and electricity are also said to be completely cut off inside the camp, which led to halting the work needed to prepare for children to return to UNRWA schools.

The UN agency called on all parties to the conflict to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including UNRWA services and facilities in the governorate.

“The Saraya crossing point, which allows the passage of people and goods, must remain open to allow Palestine refugees’ access to basic services,” it added.