Rights Group Documents Misappropriation of Palestinian Refugees’ Property in War-Torn Syria

Rights Group Documents Misappropriation of Palestinian Refugees’ Property in War-Torn Syria

Pro-regime officers in Syria raking through Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian refugees. (Photo: Enab Baladi)

A report issued by the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) on October 12 under the title “Seizure of Palestinian Refugees’ Property” in Syria warns of the misappropriation of assets of displaced Palestinian families.

AGPS has documented several cases where Palestinian property has been confiscated, destroyed, and/or stolen in displacement camps across the war-ravaged country, including AlSabina, Khan Eshieh, AlNeirab, and Handarat camps.

The stolen/destroyed property were owned by Palestinian activists, journalists, or prisoners accused of affiliations with the Syrian opposition or with terror groups.

The 14-page report includes a definition of property ownership rights as per international law and the Syrian constitution of 2012.

A section of the report has also been devoted to geographical locations of Palestinian property that has been subjected to forfeiture. In most cases, seized houses have been taken by pro-regime gunmen and militias in Syria.

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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