UNRWA strongly condemns killing of refugee children in Syria

26 April 2014
UNRWA Strongly Condemns Killing of Refugee Children in Syria

East Jerusalem 

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) strongly condemns the parties responsible for the recent conflict-related deaths of three Palestine refugee children in Syria. These killings tragically illustrate the callous disregard of the laws of war which is resulting in the deaths of so many Syrian and Palestinian children.

On 18 April, an eleven year old Qusay Shuraieh, sustained serious head injuries when a vehicle-borne explosive device detonated near Bilal Al-Habas mosque in Homs. He fell into a coma from which he never recovered, and passed away on 22 April in Bisan Hospital in Homs camp.  His family had found refuge in Homs camp after being displaced, initially from Ein Al Tal Palestine refugee camp in April 2013, and subsequently from Aleppo in February this year.  Qusay’s twelve-year old brother was also seriously injured in the same explosion, along with seven other Palestine refugee children between the ages of six and fourteen.  

In Dara’a city, on 22 April, Malek Hasan Turani, also eleven years of age, was caught in an explosion as he walked home from school with friends and family. He was killed instantly when he was struck in the head by shrapnel from the explosion.

On 10 March, seven year old Nureiddin Majed Al Khalily was gravely injured when what appeared to be a stray bullet struck the back of his head as he walked home from an UNRWA school in Homs Palestine refugee camp, accompanied by his nine-year old brother. He instantly fell unconscious and remained so until his death in the early hours of 15 March at Al Zaiem Hospital, Homs. Noureddin’s family are long-time residents of Homs camp.

UNRWA’s thoughts are with the families of Noureddin, Qusay and Malek during this sorrowful time of bereavement.

The tragic deaths of Noureddin, Qusay and Malek epitomize the reckless disregard for human life that defines the armed conflict in Syria. Their deaths resulted from the indiscriminate use of extremely lethal weapons and explosive devices in civilian areas, in violation of international humanitarian law and the obligation to protect civilians.

In the strongest possible terms, UNRWA reiterates its demand that all parties to the Syria conflict comply with their obligations under international law and desist from conducting conflict in civilian areas. These and other legal obligations were underscored in UN Security Council resolution 2139 of 22 February 2014. UNRWA calls again on the parties to avoid recourse to violence and armed conflict and to seek a resolution of the Syria conflict through dialogue and political negotiations.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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