Khan Eshieh Camp

As of 1 January 2019

In 2016, UNRWA was able to re-access Khan Esheih camp and the Agency was able to rehabilitate some of its installations. © 2018 UNRWA Photo by Fernande van Tets
In 2016, UNRWA was able to re-access Khan Esheih camp and the Agency was able to rehabilitate some of its installations. © 2018 UNRWA Photo by Fernande van Tets
Khan Eshieh camp lies beside the ancient ruins of Khan Eshieh, 27km south-west of Damascus. The Khan historically served as an overnight shelter for trade caravans on the road between Damascus and the southwest, and in 1948, it provided shelter for the first refugees from Palestine. The camp was established in 1949 on an area of 0.69 square kilometres with refugees originally from the northern part of Palestine.

Before the conflict in Syria, the camp was home to more than 20,000 Palestine refugees. In 2012, the farms and fields surrounding the camp became active battlegrounds in which heavy weapons were deployed, often indiscriminately. The population more than halved to 9,000.

Some 75 UNRWA staff residing in the camp strived to maintain support to Palestine refugees through limited services offered in three schools, a health clinic, a community centre and a sanitation office. The Agency’s work was impeded by the fact that between 2013 and 2016, humanitarian access to Khan Eshieh was constrained, with no medical supplies being allowed into the camp. This lack of access meant that Palestine refugees travelled long distances to UNRWA distribution centers in Sahnaya or Khan Dannoun to receive assistance.

Some of the camp's buildings and infrastructure were severely affected including some UNRWA installations; two UNRWA schools and the community centre were almost razed to the ground. In 2016, UNRWA was able to re-access Khan Esheih and the Agency was able to rehabilitate some of its installations. Residents have also slowly started to return, with the camp now accommodating 12,000 people. 

Before 2011, the majority of Palestine refugees in Khan Eshieh were well educated and work as teachers or civil servants. Others are employed as farm workers on Syrian-owned lands and manual workers at the nearby workshops.

UNRWA installations:

  • Four double-shift schools in two buildings, which were both completely destroyed and rehabilitated in 2017 & 2018.
  • One food distribution center (did not need rehabilitation)
  • One health centre (rehabilitated in 2017)
  • One Community Centre (completely destroyed). Services are provided in a rented community centre.
  • One Kindergarten
  • One Sanitation Office
Programmes in the camp:
  • Emergency assistance
  • Health
  • Education
  • Relief and social services
  • Sanitation

REFUGEE CAMPS IN Syria

We provide services in 12 Palestine refugee camps in Syria. UNRWA does not administer or police the camps, as this is the responsibility of the host authorities.