In the early afternoon of 6 September, 2012, an UNRWA Syria staff member and his son, a medical student, were killed in their home in Yarmouk, a densely populated residential area just outside Damascus. Yarmouk is home to more than 150,000 Palestine refugees.
The tragic deaths occurred when the staff member’s home took a direct hit reportedly from shells. The staff member’s home was located on al-Janoueh Street close to Palestine Street. This is a sad reminder of the personal risks being taken and the sacrifices being made by UNRWA staff and other humanitarian personnel in Syria.In separate incidents during the night of 5 September, three young Palestine refugee men were killed reportedly when their homes were directly hit by shells.Since 29 August, residents of Yarmouk have been affected by intense armed conflict in adjacent residential areas. In addition to loss of life and injuries among Syrians and Palestine refugees, these developments have resulted in the significant damage to homes and property.UNRWA has informed the Syrian authorities of developments and will reiterate its calls to the authorities to afford protection from the effects of armed conflict for refugees and other civilians across Syria.UNRWA deplores the tragic loss of life and expresses the view that these outcomes could have been avoided. The Agency repeats its profound concern regarding the increasing impact of the Syria conflict on Palestine refugees and the serious risks these entail.UNRWA remains gravely concerned about the destructive impact of the Syrian conflict on civilians across Syria. All sides must refrain from conducting the conflict in civilian areas and must comply with their obligations under international law.- Ends -Background information:UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight.UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.For more information, please contact:Christopher GunnessUNRWA SpokespersonMobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659Office: +972 (0)2 589 firstname.lastname@example.orgSami MshashaUNRWA Arabic SpokespersonMobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295Office: +972 (0)2 589 email@example.com