Syria Crisis

Syria crisis

18,000 Palestine refugees remain trapped in the Yarmouk neighbourhood of Damascus
Young boy in Qabr Essit camp, December 2014. © UNRWA/Taghrid Mohammad
The 2015 UNRWA appeal for the Syria regional crisis, outlines the need for US$ 415.4 million to meet the minimum needs of Palestine refugees suffering profound hardship as a result of the conflict in Syria.

Palestine refugees from Syria have been severely affected by the ongoing armed conflict. Of the total 560,000 Palestine refugees in Syria, almost all require assistance. Click here to read more.

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The Syria Crisis

UNRWA more than ever is a critical life-line for Palestine refugees. By adaptation and innovation, the Agency has maintained the capacity to provide services and assistance to all Palestine refugees in Syria and those displaced to Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza.

The conflict in Syria is complex and deadly. All 12 Palestine refugee camps and all 560,000 registered Palestine refugees in the country have been affected. UNRWA estimates that 95 per cent of the 480,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria are in continuous need of humanitarian aid. One third of UNRWA facilities in Syria have been rendered inoperable due to damage or active conflict. Therefore, UNRWA has had to adapt as the conflict permits. It has innovated and found solutions to allow it to continue to fulfill its mandate to assist Palestine refugees.

However, the escalating violence makes movement and access more difficult and causes severe hardship for Palestine refugees. The particular vulnerabilities of Palestine refugees and their sensitive status in the region compound the already stark and violent devastation they share with Syrians. Jordan effectively closed its borders to Palestinian refugees from Syria early in the conflict; Lebanon followed suit in May this year. When they do find relief from the conflict, they suffer marginalization and acute vulnerability. In Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, many Palestine refugees from Syria do not have legal status and are unable to access civil registration procedures and basic social services. Their movement is limited and they live in constant fear of arrest and forced return to Syria.

The overall needs of Palestine refugees are urgent. Supporting them with advocacy and financial means is an imperative of regional humanitarian, political and strategic importance.

Read more in the Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal for 2015 and the Syria Crisis Response Mid-Year Review 2014.

Read more about the latest development in the Syria Regional Crisis Response Update

Syria emergency appeal 2015 © UNRWA

Facts and Figures

13,000 Palestine refugees live in UNRWA-managed shelters within Syria

UNRWA shelter assistance is provided through a cash grant within the emergency cash assistance programme. 


About 13,000 Palestine refugees are housed in 37 UNRWA and UNRWA-managed shelters. Refugees receive two meals per day, non-food items and have access to social workers and health points. Some shelters include schools. Otherwise, displaces persons live with family members, in rental homes, mosques, community centres and other venues.  At the end of 2014, some were returning to homes in areas such as in Qabr Essit camp.


More than a quarter of Palestine refugees from Syria live in non-insulated unfinished shelters, garages, work-sites or warehouses; 22,800 Palestine refugees receive US$ 100 per family per month for shelter assistance.


11,680 Palestine refugees from Syria in Jordan rely on UNRWA cash assistance to meet their basic food and material needs. Due to funding shortfalls in 2014, UNRWA did not provide shelter assistance.

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Funding Requirements

The depth and breadth of UNRWA operations in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon lends the Agency an extraordinary staying power and means it is ideally placed to ensure the resilience of these most vulnerable people. UNRWA more than ever is a critical life-line for Palestine refugees. By adaptation and innovation, the Agency has maintained the capacity to provide services and assistance to all Palestine refugees in Syria and those displaced to Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza.

UNRWA requires US$ 415.4 million to meet minimum needs of Palestine refugees affected by the Syria crisis in the region in 2015.

The 2014 UNRWA appeal was only 50 per cent funded. Only by substantially reducing individual assistance has UNRWA been able to continue serving all those in need. If funding levels continue to decline, critical efforts in emergency education and health care will cease, and cash assistance – the central pillar of the UNRWA humanitarian response – will be threatened. By focusing solely on staving off humanitarian disaster, decades of development gains made possible by the international community will be lost.

Click here to read the full appeal (PDF).

Total Appeal$415,000,000
Received to Date$0

With thanks to our donors

We at UNRWA would like to thank all of our donors for their commitment and support to Palestine refugees from Syria caught in the devastating conflict. This assistance has been the life-line to the Palestine refugee families and communities in peril.

As the brutality and complexity of the conflict grow, so do the humanitarian consequences. UNRWA's unique operational depth and breadth in the region provide a critical framework of stability for Palestine refugees affected by the conflict. UNRWA schools, clinics and cash assistance have been instrumental in maintaining a level of resilience despite extreme suffering. However, at 50% funding, we are unable to sustain this response.

We will need US$ 415.4 million in 2015 to meet the bare minimum needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The Palestine refugees count on all of us to stand by them until a solution can be found to the Palestine refugee issue. Your firm support is ever more critical and ever more appreciated as 2015 in Syria looms dark with greater challenges and hardship.

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With thanks to our donors thumbnail © UNRWA

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