Refugee children in Syria. (File photo)
Entering its 11th year, the Syrian conflict has severely impacted Palestinian refugees who have been living in the war-torn country after they were displaced from their homes in the Israeli-occupied territories.
Palestinian refugees in Syria (PRS) have had scant access to vital services, particularly healthcare, leaving thousands of vulnerable cases at the risk of death.
As the coronavirus pandemic has rebounded around the MENA region and the globe, PRS continue to struggle with growing poverty, economic hardship, and medical neglect.
The destruction wrought on hospitals, health centres, and pharmacies has made the situation far more alarming. Children, expectant women, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly have received no special attention.
Palestinian medics and relief activists have been permanently targeted by the Syrian government forces on claims of assisting rival parties. Several paramedics and volunteers have also died under torture in government lock-ups.
Displacement camps set up in northern Syria are especially vulnerable as most hospitals and medical facilities have been bombed, rendering them out of order. Limited access to running water, pharmacies and medical facilities means residents of these displacement camps risk to love their lives.
Palestinians have been living in Syria as refugees since they were displaced from their homes in 1948. Approximately 560,000 Palestinian refugees lived in Syria before the Syrian uprising in March 2011, with access to education, healthcare and employment.
However, in the years that followed, an estimated 100,000- 150,000 Palestinian refugees fled Syria, becoming displaced once more. On arrival in neighbouring countries, many faced legal restrictions and an unavoidable reliance on underfunded UNRWA institutions for basic services.