Yarmouk (unofficial camp*)

The information included here predates the start of the conflict in Syria in March 2011. For more up-to-date information, please visit the Syria crisis page.

Yarmouk camp is home to the largest Palestine refugee community in Syria.

Children in classroom

It lies 8km from the centre of Damascus and is inside the city boundaries. Yarmouk resembles an urban quarter, and it looks very different from the other Palestine refugee concentrations in Syria.

Yarmouk was established in 1957. It occupies an area of 2.1 square kilometres to accommodate refugees who were scattering in mosques, schools and other public places.

Over the years, the refugees have improved their shelters and added more rooms to them. Today, the camp is crowded with cement block homes, and is densely populated. Three main roads lined with shops and crammed with service taxis and microbuses run through Yarmouk.

Many of the refugees in Yarmouk are professional, working as doctors, engineers and civil servants. Others are employed as casual labourers and street vendors. Overall, living conditions in Yarmouk are far better than those of the other Palestine refugee camps in Syria.

  • More than 148,500 registered refugees
  • 28 double-shift schools
  • One food distribution centre
  • Three health centres
  • Two community centres
  • Demographic profile:
    Graph of Yarmouk demographic profile
Programmes in the camp
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social safety net
  • Relief and social services
  • Microcredit and microfinance
Major problems
  • Air pollution
  • Domestic violence
  • High rate of drug addiction
  • Increasing rate of child labour
  • Deplorable and hazardous shelters
  • Living costs disproportionate to income
  • High rate of early marriage and divorce
  • Increasing rate of early school dropouts
  • Lack of environmental health awareness
  • Lack of potable water in certain areas of the camp
  • High unemployment rate and lack of job opportunities
  • Health problems caused by economic and psychological pressure

*A number of so-called unofficial refugee camps were established over time by the host governments to provide accommodation for Palestine refugees. In all respects, refugees in official and unofficial camps have equal access to UNRWA services, except that UNRWA is not responsible for solid waste collection in the unofficial camps.


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.