Palestinian Refugees from Syria at the Turkish border. 2014 (source: albawaba.com) Palestinian Refugees from Syria at the Turkish border. 2014 (source: albawaba.com)
The crisis that broke out in Syria in 2011 has had devastating consequences on the country and its inhabitants. Regarding the Palestinian refugees, the legal and political context in which they find themselves makes them an especially vulnerable group. There were 560,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria when the conflict erupted. By April 2015, at least 80,000 have been forced to leave the country. 44,000 found their way into Lebanon and 15,000 into Jordan before these countries closed their borders to Palestinian refugees from Syria.[1] Of the 480,000 Palestinian refugees remaining in the country, 280,000 are internally displaced, and 95% are in continuous need of humanitarian assistance. Despite the harsh circumstances they endure in Lebanon and Jordan, UNRWA estimates the numbers will grow by the end of the year.[2]

As the number of refugees fleeing Syria increases by the day and the gaps in protection continue to widen, Syrian refugees are not receiving adequate protection in the host countries, and Palestinian refugees from Syria are particularly suffering from secondary displacement and discrimination.

This issue of al-Majdal is the second half of a two-issue focus on Palestinian refugees in/from Syria. In the previous issue we covered the situation of Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Jordan. In this issue we present an account of their situation in Syria, Egypt and Turkey. These two publications provide the most up-to-date data on Palestinian Refugees in and from Syria, those who remain in Syria and those who fled to neighboring countries. This issue addresses the obstacles and protection gaps Palestinian refugees from Syria suffer from when they are displaced inside Syria, and when trying to escape to other countries. We give an account of the widespread internal displacement and a special focus on the circumstances surrounding al-Yarmouk refugee camp. At the time of the editing of this issue, al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus was being attacked by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al-Nusra Front, and other Islamic militias.[3] This issue also includes two sections on Egypt and Turkey with different accounts and an overview of the situation of Palestinian refugees in those countries.
 

There were 560,000 Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria when the conflict erupted. By April 2015, at least 80,000 have been forced to leave the country. 44,000 found their way into Lebanon and 15,000 into Jordan before these countries closed their borders to Palestinian refugees from Syria. Of the 480,000 Palestinian refugees remaining in the country, 280,000 are internally displaced, and 95% are in continuous need of humanitarian assistance.

 

Approximately 4,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria have been reported in Egypt, with local groups claimed that there are at least 10,000.[4] The remaining 10,000-15,000 escaped towards Turkey and from there many of them fled to Europe, by sea or by land.[5] The forced secondary displacement suffered by Palestinian refugees from Syria is not a new phenomenon. Many Palestinians who sought refuge outside their homeland experienced further forced displacement. With their right to a nationality, identity and travel document denied by Israel, these Palestinians became stateless refugees who have been particularly vulnerable to the impacts of armed conflicts and human rights violations in their respective host countries.

The level of protection provided to Palestinian refugees under Arab regional and national instruments and mechanisms is significantly low. All host states are obliged to protect Palestinian refugees in accordance with the international standards set by the human rights conventions they are party to, and under international law. Most states, however, fail to protect Palestinian refugees according to these standards. This issue grows more important as instability increases in states hosting Palestinian refugees. Palestinians face new dangers in their host states that render them unable to remain in their present place of refuge or to return to their places of origin long since dispossessed by Israel.
Since Israel is the only state from which Palestinian refugees originated, it is their only state of origin and thus is required under international law to allow these refugees to return. The right of return would end the cycle of forced population transfer endured by Palestinians for 67 years. We thank our sponsor custom essay writing service . They helped us in writing this article. However, Palestinian refugees are entitled to full protection until they are afforded reparation including return, restitution and compensation. Short of that, immediate attention and care must be given to this vulnerable population in/from Syria, and the discriminatory policies must end, in order to afford Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria adequate protection.
 

 


[1] Their situation in these countries is extremely vulnerable, as we analyzed in-depth in our previous issue of Al-Majdal (see: http://badil.org/Al-majdal/item/2083-editorial#_ednref18).

[2] UNRWA, “Syria Crisis | UNRWA.”

[3] Martin Chulov and Kareem Shaheen, “Isis Closes in on Damascus after Seizing al-Yarmouk Refugee Camp.”

[4] Human Rights Watch, “Egypt: Syria Refugees Detained, Coerced to Return.”

[5] Palestinian Return Centre, Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, and Filistin Dayanışma Derneği (FİDDER), Report on the Conditions of Palestinian Refugees in Syria, 27.