The United Nation agency for Palestinian refugees is reporting that three separate incidents in Syria claimed last week the lives of five children. One of the children died in Dera’a and four others in Damascus.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA, Mohammad Al-Khateeb (aged 14) was killed on March 15 by a bullet as he was returning home on foot after buying bread from a bakery in his neighborhood in Dera’a. On March 19, Hisham Mahmoud (aged 10) and Farhat Mubarak (aged 11), were killed at the crossroad of Yazour and Safad Streets in Yarmouk, Damascus. They were returning home from classes at a community-run learning center when an explosive shell detonated nearby, killing them instantly. In a separate incident on the same day, two brothers, Ali Mijel (aged 14) and Abdullah Mijel (aged 15), were killed along with their aunt and cousin when an explosive shell hit their home on Hittin Street in Sbeineh Camp.
Prior to the Syrian Civil War, there were approximately one million Palestinian refugees living in the country. Last November, the PLO estimated that over 600 Palestinians died in the war, though this number has risen considerably since. At least 20,000 Palestinians have been able to flee the country to Lebanon, while the Jordanian government continues to send Palestinian refugees back, claiming that they are not affected by the conflict in the same way other Syrian civilians are. However, many believe that the as refugees, the Palestinians are actually more vulnerable than other groups.
Following the killing of 30 other Palestinians last month, Christopher Gunness, a spokesperson for UNRWA, told +972 that “refugees by their nature are already among the most vulnerable people in any society, and in a situation like in Syria clearly they are more vulnerable.”