Sbeineh Camp

Palestine refugee children in al-Salhiyeh/Safouryeh School in Sbeineh camp @ 2020 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad.
Palestine refugee children in al-Salhiyeh/Safouryeh School in Sbeineh camp @ 2020 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad.

Sbeineh camp is situated beside Sbeineh town, 14 km south of Damascus and was established in 1948. The camp is situated on an area of 0.03 square kilometres. Historically, the camp has been inhabited by those displaced by the conflict in 1948, as well as Palestinians who had taken refuge in the Golan Heights and were displaced as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli hostilities.

In 2013, the entire camp population, which originally comprised of 22,600 residents, was displaced due to the military encounters that took place inside the camp. Many families were accommodated in UNRWA IDP shelters, left the country and sought refuge in neighbouring countries or fled to Europe. Government forces seized control of the camp in late 2013. The camp remained closed to civilians for almost four years and houses and infrastructure were damaged in the fighting.

In September 2017, civilians were able to return to their homes. All UNRWA installations were in need of repairs and in 2018 all UNRWA installations were rehabilitated, including three school premises, the sanitation office, the social workers’ office, the food distribution centre, the health centre and the community centre. The Agency also provided support to Palestine refugees through water trucking and the removal of rubble from the main streets and lanes.

As of the 2020-2021 school year, there are more than 3,766 children enrolled at six UNRWA schools. More than 16,000 of the original 22,600 residents who used to live in the camp before the crisis have returned to the camp as of March 2021 and another 4,000 live in the area around the camp and access UNRWA services in the camp.

Previously, the majority of refugees worked in Sbeineh's factories and industrial plants, or as day labourers on Syrian-owned farms. The majority of women are domestic workers in Damascus to supplement family income. However, during the conflict, such opportunities dwindled and the unemployment rate is high with very limited financial resources to help Palestine refugees restore their livelihoods.

Like in other areas of Syria, displacement, unemployment, inflation, protection and security risks – including related to contamination by Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) – are among the main concerns shared by Palestine refugees and Syrians alike. The 10-year-long conflict has led to an increase in negative coping mechanisms, like early marriage, child labour and drug consumption, as well as an increase in violence and psychological problems. Despite financial constraints, UNRWA has enhanced its efforts to implement preventative and awareness-raising activities and to provide psychosocial support through its schools and the community centre. The already very dire situation is now compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic decline of the economic situation. If not adequately addressed, poverty and protection concerns will increase and are likely to lead to a further deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the already very vulnerable Palestine refugee community.

 

UNRWA INSTALLATIONS:

  • Six double-shift schools in three school premises
  • One sanitation office
  • One social workers office
  • One food distribution centre
  • One health centre
  • One community centre

PROGRAMMES IN THE CAMP:

  • Emergency assistance
  • Health
  • Education
  • Relief and Social Services
  • ICIP/sanitation
  • Microfinance
  • Protection

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.