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The United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees today called on all parties in Syria to stop the violence in refugee camps and other civilian areas, following violence near the Dera’a camp which killed seven Palestinians.
“Reports from Dera’a of the further loss of Palestinian lives are deeply distressing,” <“http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/official-statements/unrwa-deplores-violence-dera%E2%80%99-refugee-camp-southern-syria-which“>said Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, the Director of UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Syria.
“UNRWA repeats its calls on all parties to desist from conducting armed conflict in Palestine refugee camps and other civilian areas and to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.”
Initial reports indicate that on Saturday, the Dera’a Palestine refugee camp was directly affected by intensive armed conflict, killing seven refugees and injuring 15 others. As a result of the fighting, UNRWA’s Primary Health Care Centre and Women’s Programme Centre sustained heavy damage.
The Dera’a Health Centre was reconstructed and fully re-equipped with donor funds in June 2008. Prior to the conflict, the centre offered a wide range of health services to over 25,000 Palestine refugees residing in Dera’a camp and the surrounding areas. The outbreak of war in 2011 caused many refugees to seek safety outside the camp and for many months had prevented the health centre from functioning normally, UNRWA said in a news release.
The agency appealed to all sides and to the international community “to urgently resolve the Syria conflict through a peaceful process of mediation and dialogue,” adding that the conflict is aggravating the already severe human suffering endured by Syrians and Palestinians alike.
Despite extreme challenges, UNRWA continues to support some 420,000 Palestine refugees in Syria with health care, primary education, cash transfers, food assistance, psycho-social support access to micro-finance and other humanitarian services.