The United Nations on Sunday expressed concern about the plight of Palestinian refugees in war-ravaged Syria, as it reiterated a $200-million appeal for funding to help them.
“In the past five or six months, I saw a very big deterioration for Palestinians in Syria,” Commissioner General Filippo Grandi of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) told reporters in the Jordanian capital.
“In Syria, many Palestine refugees... face an uncertain future. There was a prevalent atmosphere of danger and fear,” he said after a meeting of UNRWA's Advisory Commission.
Grandi said UNRWA has appealed for $200 million (150 million euros) to help Palestinian refugees in Syria.
“Support UNRWA. We appeal to all countries, including countries in the Gulf,” he said.
Grandi told AFP during a May visit to Syria that 70-80 percent of the approximately registered 530,000 Palestinians in Syria have been displaced.
“I have concerns about the future of Palestinian refugees in Syria. I think this can have an impact on the whole geography of Palestinian exile in this region, which is a very dangerous issue,” he said on Sunday.
Between 12 and 15 percent of the Palestinian refugee population has fled Syria altogether, according to Grandi.
UNRWA has nine registered camps for Palestinian refugees in Syria, housing those who fled or were forced from their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948, and their descendants.
“Seven... Palestinian refugee camps in Syria are theatres of war,” he said.
Some camps, including Yarmuk in Damascus, have been the scene of heavy fighting in the conflict that began with peaceful anti-government demonstrations in March 2011 before becoming an armed conflict.
“If some Palestinians fight on one side or the other, and it happens, this does not mean that the majority wants to be involved. They don't want to be involved. It's clear,” Grandi told reporters.
He said that around half of the 7,000 Palestinians who have fled Syria for Jordan since the conflict began were originally registered in the kingdom.
“There is a policy in Jordan not admit to Palestinians from Syria,” he added, stressing that this “remains of concern”.
In all, UNRWA cares for some 4.2 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, including around 1.8 million in Jordan.
The tiny kingdom says it currently hosts more than 500,000 refugees from Syria.
U.N. in aid appeal for Syria’s Palestinians