A United Nations agency today expressed concern over the rising number of deaths and injuries among Palestinian refugees in Syria, following reports of 12 casualties last Thursday in a Damascus suburb.
“These deaths mark the end of a particularly tragic week for Palestine refugees in Syria, with an estimated total of 30 killed,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in a news release.
More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which has also left more than four million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
According to UNRWA, many of the casualties were caused by the use of heavy weapons and five of the 12 Palestinian refugees killed on 7 February in Yarmouk were members of the same family.
“These Palestine refugees are unable to move safely, are subject to severe movement restrictions and face escalating threats from shelling and armed clashes,” UNRWA said, adding that poverty and deprivation are increasing in the Palestinian community, exacerbating vulnerabilities that existed prior to the Syrian conflict.
“These developments have left the Palestine refugee community, alongside their Syrian neighbours, profoundly traumatized and fearful of the future.”
UNRWA has repeatedly deplored the armed conflict and the extreme suffering it is inflicting on civilians. The agency once again called on all sides to comply with their obligations under international law and ensure the protection of Palestine refugees and other civilians across the country.