Three killed in Syrian 'Palestinian refugee camp'

Three killed and another five injured in airstrikes targeting the Khan al-Shih neighborhood southwest of Damascus.

Ben Ariel,

Destruction in Syria (archive)
Destruction in Syria (archive)

Three people were killed and another five injured in airstrikes targeting the Khan al-Shih neighborhood in Syria, which is considered a “Palestinian refugee camp”, the Ma'an news agency reported Tuesday.

The airstrikes reportedly took place on Monday, according to the report. Khan al-Shih is located located southwest of Damascus.

According to the Jafra Foundation, a relief organization operating in areas of Syria considered to be “Palestinian refugee camps” , the midnight airstrikes caused heavy damage to civilian houses and destroyed a building housing the foundation’s Child Friendly Space, a center devoted to providing psychological support, recreation, and risk and hygiene awareness to children.

Last week, six residents of Khan al-Shih, including a seven-year-old child, were reportedly killed in airstrikes from Russian jets targeting civilian homes, Ma'an reported.

Khan al-Shih, once home to more than 30,000 civilians, has seen some 50 percent of its population displaced, the news agency said.

The Damascus neighborhood of Yarmouk, also called a “Palestinian refugee camp”, has similarly come under attack by both Syrian government forces as well as by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists during the five-year Syrian civil war.

The Yarmouk "refugee camp" is in fact a sprawling neighborhood at the southern edge of Damascus. Most of the Palestinians who live there are descendants of Arab refugees from Israel's War of Independence, though few are themselves refugees. Uniquely, the UN founded UNRWA as a separate agency to its official refugee agency UNHCR in order to perpetuate "Palestinian refugee" status to all descendants of actual Palestinian Arab refugees.

There are thousands of people registered as Palestinian refugees in Israel’s neighboring countries, including Lebanon and Syria. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have limited work options and are refused citizenship.

In Syria, according to numbers released recently by UNRWA, more than 20% of Palestinian Arabs have fled the country during the five-year war.