UNHCR: nearly 2,000 Palestinians stuck at Iraq-Syria border

By Xinhua

Geneva : Nearly 2,000 Palestinian refugees have been trapped in camps at the Iraq-Syria border and they are now facing deteriorating living conditions, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday.

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The population of Al Tanf camp in the no-man’s land between Iraq and Syria has increased to 437 in recent weeks, while anothercamp inside Iraq, Al Waleed, is currently hosting 1,560 Palestinian refugees, UNHCR said in a statement.

The number of refugees in the two camps is expected to increase further as more and more Palestinians continue to flee ongoing threats and attacks in Baghdad.

UNHCR estimates some 13,000 Palestinians are still living in Baghdad.

According to the agency, the conditions in the two refugee camps are harsh, especially with the approaching winter.

“We are increasingly worried about the plight of Palestinian refugees, particularly the women, children and elderly, who remain stuck on the border between Iraq and Syria,” said Andrew Harper, head of UNHCR’s Iraq Support Unit.

“This group, which has already suffered greatly, now face deteriorating conditions as winter approaches. They are stuck in tents with little or no protection from violent sandstorms,” he said.

“We are continuing to talk to several governments, both within and outside the region, to seek the urgent relocation of this group,” he added.

UNHCR has been working closely with partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestinian and Syrian Red Crescent Societies to improve the living conditions of the refugees in the camps.