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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
8 February 2013

UNRWA once again draws attention to the extreme suffering the Syria conflict is inflicting on civilians, including Palestine refugees

8 February 2013
Over recent weeks, a particularly grave humanitarian crisis has emerged in the Rif Damascus Governorate, where several Palestine refugee camps are situated. In areas which had already seen months of insecurity, armed engagements have intensified and a siege-like situation has become the context for severe suffering.
Alongside Syrians, Palestine refugees who live in significant numbers in Rif Damascus are being killed, seriously injured, and displaced in much larger numbers than before.
Palestine refugees who remain in Khan Eshieh Camp, Husseiniyeh, Qabr Essit Camp, and Sbeineh Camp, are trapped in harsh conditions. They live under direct threat of harm from the conflict while external flight options remain limited. They experience acute shortages of food, water, electricity, health care, and other essential supplies. Many are not able to seek safety due to the physical risks associated with movement. These risks also prevent UNRWA from safely reaching these areas to deliver humanitarian assistance.
UNRWA deplores the suffering inflicted on civilians in Syria and calls on all sides to do everything possible to ease it, including refraining from conducting the conflict in residential areas. All sides must conduct themselves in ways that safeguard human life; protect civilians; ensure safe and free movement for civilians and allow unimpeded access to UNRWA and other humanitarian agencies.
– Ends –
Background information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at USD 68 million.
For more information, please contact :

Christopher Gunness

UNRWA Spokesperson

Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659

Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson

Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724


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