Six of the 43 were part of a group that had been stranded at Trebil, on the Iraqi side of the border with Jordan, for nearly two months. The other 37 Palestinians had traveled directly from Baghdad to the Iraq-Syria border. They were taken to the UNHCR-run El Hol refugee camp in Syria's El-Hasaka province by UNHCR, joining the other 244 who had arrived on Tuesday. UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Work Agency) dispatched a medical team to check their health.
El Hol refugee camp presently houses 305 Palestinians, including a group of 18 who had arrived there earlier this year. UNHCR is providing food and accommodation to all refugees and will continue to do so until the group is handed over to UNRWA, which is responsible for Palestinians in the Near East.
We have also learned that two additional Palestinian families (16 people) arrived from Baghdad at the Iraq-Syria border on Wednesday night and are now waiting at the Tanef border crossing, hoping for access into Syria.
Most of the Palestinians now in Syria left Baghdad in March, fearing increased intimidation, kidnapping and killings. Many had spent most of the lives in Iraq or were born there. More than 30,000 Palestinians are believed still living in Iraq.