Palestinians in Syria Cut Off From Aid
Tens of thousands of longtime Palestinian refugees in a camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital have been cut off from United Nations emergency aid for nearly two months by armed groups that are preventing access, a UN official said.
Up to 18,000 people are living inside the devastated Yarmouk camp, which is caught between government forces and Syrian insurgent groups including al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Food, water and medicine are scarce, Reuters reported.
Last year “a degree of cooperation” allowed aid to enter after several months of being blocked, but access has again vanished with a deterioration of security, said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
“We haven’t been able to bring in any assistance since early December,” he said.
Yarmouk was home to more half a million Palestinian refugees before Syria’s conflict began in 2011. Most have fled abroad or to elsewhere in Syria. Those who stayed face worsening conditions, including price rises and a severe winter, Kraehenbuehl said.
Kraehenbuehl said he had urged Lebanese officials to allow Palestinians fleeing Syria to enter.
About 44,000 Palestinians from Syria are now living in Lebanon, but tighter entry restrictions have meant that few have been able to enter since May,
Lebanon also hosts 1.5 million Syrians who fled the war, giving it the highest number of refugees per capita in the world.