Palestinian Refugees in/from Syria Suffer War-Related Trauma

Palestinian Refugees in/from Syria Suffer War-Related Trauma

Residents of Syria’s besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp collecting aid, Feb. 13, 2015. Without passports, the refugees have no place to go. (Rami Al-Sayed / AFP / Getty Images)

The ten-year warfare rocking the Syrian territories has forced Palestinian refugees, most notably children and the elderly, to endure terrible experiences and witness nightmarish scenes that far exceed one’s capacity to get to grips with them.

With scenes of destruction, bloodshed, displacement, and death occurring around the clock, Palestinian refugees have gone traumatized and are now in need of psychological support.

Post-traumatic stress disorders, mental psychosis, sleeplessness and nightmares, eating disorders, and intense fear have all been among the symptoms with which Palestinian refugees, particularly children, have been diagnosed after they lost their homes, have had their parents/relatives killed in the war, underwent limb amputation, and witnessed daily scenes of death, dispossession, and destruction.

Almost ten years into the conflict, Palestine refugees continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups in Syria with immense humanitarian needs.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in its 2020 Syria regional crisis emergency appeal that 126,000 Palestine refugees in Syria (PRS) are identified as extremely vulnerable; 89% live in poverty; 91% live in extreme poverty; and 80% rely on UNRWA cash assistance as their main source of income.

UNRWA also said that 55% of PRS do not possess valid legal residency documents; 100% of PRS are in need of winterization assistance; and 86% of PRS households are reported to be in debt.

The majority of Palestinians sheltered in displacement camps set up across the Syrian territories have remained at bay from political calculations and frequently refused attempts by all warring parties to drag them into the raging warfare, saying their priority is to secure safe shelters for their children and families pending a just and lasting solution to their refugee plight and return to their motherland—Palestine.

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