Syria, save the children at Camp Neirab


Syria’s Arab Spring is turning bloody. Over 5,000 protesters have been killed, and so have some 400 children.
• One four-month-old was reportedly tortured to death.
• The international community, previously reluctant to intervene, is getting ready for action.

In the morning of 28 September 2012, four Palestine refugees were killed and 5 were injured, 3 of them reportedly seriously, in Neirab Camp in northern Syria. The deaths and injuries were caused by a shell which exploded in the main street of the camp.

Among those killed were two infant boys, brothers aged one and a half and three and a half years who were playing outside when the explosion occurred. Neirab camp, with a population of just under 22,000 Palestine refugees, is situated close to Aleppo airport in an area affected since June by continuous and increasingly intense armed conflict.

As a consequence of the conflict, the camp residents are exposed to the risk of violent death and serious injury, and humanitarian access to the camp, as well as the refugees’ ability to obtain essential services, is severely curtailed. The refugees seriously injured on 29 September have not been able to receive the specialized medical attention they require. Limited medical care is being offered by UNRWA medical staff in the Agency’s health clinic in Neirab camp.

UNRWA has informed the Syrian authorities of the events of 28 September and stressed the heightened vulnerability of Palestine refugees in Neirab camp. The Agency renews its calls to the authorities to afford protection from the effects of armed conflict for Palestine refugees and other civilians across Syria, and to facilitate humanitarian access to the civilian populations in need of assistance.

This is only the most recent instance of Palestine refugees being killed and injured in the Syria conflict. UNRWA deplores the tragic loss of life and is of the opinion that the deaths could have been avoided. The Agency repeats its profound concern regarding the increasing impact of the Syria conflict on Palestine refugees.

The destructive impact of the Syrian conflict on civilians across Syria is deeply deplorable. To ensure the protection of civilians, all sides must refrain from conducting the conflict in civilian areas and must comply with their obligations under international law.

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, microfinance and emergency assistance.

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. In 2012, the initial budgeted GF cash deficit was USD 75 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha

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