Neirab camp is the largest official camp in Syria and is 13km east of the city of Aleppo near the Aleppo airport.
The camp was established between 1948-1950 for refugees from northern Palestine on 0.15 square kilometres in and around army barracks constructed by the Allied Forces during World War II.
The refugees found shelter in the barracks, which they divided up, initially with sheets and later with plywood and hollow bricks to provide some privacy and to accommodate their growing families.
Today, most refugees are casual labourers. Others work informally as street vendors.
While UNRWA has been able to make essential improvements and maintenance to the barracks, the housing situation in Neirab remains deplorable, and many of the shelters are the most unhealthy and unsafe among the camps in Syria.
The poor construction of the barracks results in scorching temperatures in summer and freezing conditions in winter. Water leakage and rodent infestation remain a problem for the refugees. The quality of life is also affected by the lack of privacy. The camp's streets are the only place for children to play and even they are often no wider than the span of a child's arms. UNRWA's main priority in the camp is to provide better housing.
UNRWA and the Syrian Government are carrying out a two phase improvement plan, involving Neirab camp and the nearby Ein el-Tal camp.
The first phase of the project included house construction for 300 families to move from Neirab to Ein el-Tal, to reduce overcrowding in Neirab. Water and sewage disposal networks, roads and pathways in the existing and the new residential areas will be installed.
In the second phase, the barracks area of Neirab camp will be reconstructed for the remaining families. Open spaces will be developed for the community’s commercial and recreational use. The Palestine refugees themselves are directly involved in the planning phase and carrying out the project.
- More than 20,500 registered refugees
- Eight double-shift schools
- One food distribution centre
- One health centre
- Demographic profile:
Programmes in the camp
- Drug addiction
- High divorce rate
- Poor housing conditions in the barracks
- Old kindergarten in need of reconstruction
- Lack of opportunities for self-development
- Widespread leishmaniasis, a skin disease acquired from waste water.