It is important to continue the struggle despite frustrations and disappointment based on an ultimate faith in the triumph of justice Richard Falk | Chairman of Board of Trustees

The Beginning of the Crisis

Following the eruption of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, Palestinian refugees in Syria, residing in camps, have been subjected to deliberate targeting and economic breakdown, forcing tens of thousands of them to flee Syria and seek refuge in a potentially safer place.

Unlike Syrian nationals, Palestinian refugees have been faced with additional obstacles while fleeing the war-torn country. They are ‘refugees for a second time’. For over 50 years they have lived in Syria as refugees fleeing war and occupation in Palestine and since these Palestinians could not obtain Syrian citizenship, they remained ‘stateless’, thus impacting the way they are legally treated by most countries receiving refugees.


Palestinian Syrian refugees have been killed in Syria out of 526,000 residing in the country.


Palestinian Syrian refugees have been internally displaced in Syria.


Palestinian Syrian refugees had left their camps in Syria, migrating to neighboring or European countries.


Palestinian Syrian refugees fled to Europe.


Palestinian Syrian refugees fled to neighboring countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey).


Palestinian Syrian refugees fled to Egypt and Gaza.

Syria’s Palestinian refugees in Turkey

Thousands of Palestinians living in Syria, especially from the city of Aleppo and its numerous villages and camps, have fled to Turkish territory, either through the northern Syrian border or through Iraqi-Turkish territory in the Kurdistan region.

Currently, Turkish authorities refuse the entry of Palestinian refugees from Syria through its official border crossings. This led Palestinian families to enter the border illegally, particularly after the Turkish embassy refused to assist them, and granting Palestinian refugees transit visas was only possible on a very limited scale.

Palestinian refugees in Turkey live in dire conditions due to difficulty entering the labor market. The great majority of them depend on assistance from various relief agencies.


Palestinian refugees fled from Syria to Turkey.

Syria’s Palestinian refugees in Europe

Most of refugees arrived in Europe through sea using ‘death boats’. The number of Palestinian refugees migrating from Syria to Europe continued to rise until early March 2016; the numbers have been in decline as a result of signing the Turkish-European Deal. The tightening of procedures by the Turkish authorities on their maritime border as well as by Hungary, Bulgaria and Macedonia on their land borders, has played a major role in declining the number of refugees.

In general, the living conditions of Palestinian Syrian refugees are alike in most of the European countries, receiving housing and salaries enough to provide for one’s self and family. However, refugees are facing many challenges, including long waiting periods, before they get their residence status, not to mention the delays in reunification with families. In some countries, it takes more than a year and a half to complete the procedures necessary for obtaining these documents, which is a lot to take in for parents in particular, given the high cost of living and the lack of a legal body representing refugees and following up on their issues.


Palestinian refugees are currently in the Greek islands - which they use as a route to Europe.


asylum applications by stateless persons have been either issued or rejected in Germany during 2016 (including by Kurds coming from Syria ‘unregistered births’).


Palestinian Syrians arrived in Sweden as it is a particularly attractive destination.

More than 96 Palestinian refugees from Syria died while migrating, at least 50 by drowning in the sea. Their numbers remain higher nonetheless, especially that victims who died at sea could not be identified.


The asylum applications of Palestinian Syrians are treated equally as any Syrian refugee in Austria; they are granted temporary or permanent residence based on a case-by-case study.


Netherlands is the second most attractive destination for Palestinian Syrians. Asylum applications are examined in a period from one week to six months, while family reunification procedures may take over a year.


It is unfavorable for most Palestinian Syrians as it takes up to two years at least to make a decision on asylum applications

Syria’s Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

The Lebanese authorities continue to refuse granting residence permits for Palestinian refugees from Syria in light of the lack of a legal status recognizing their standing. Meanwhile, Syrian refugees are living in constant fear of deportation and have been suffering from instability and insecurity due to restrictions on movement.

The Lebanese authorities have dealt with Syrian refugees as ‘tourists’, depriving them of legal residence, necessary protection and security guaranteed to them by their refugee status.


are currently living in Lebanon.


of Syria's Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line, while 95% of them are food insecure.


of Syria's Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line, while 95% of them are food insecure.


is a fine paid per capita for any delay in the renewal of residence permits.

Syria’s Palestinian refugees in Jordan

In 2013, the Jordanian Government declared a ban on Palestinians fleeing the Syrian conflict from entering its territory. This led to the forcible deportation of hundreds of Palestinian-Syrians back to the war-torn country. While Jordan has been treating Palestinian refugees from Syria in an extremely biased manner, Jordan still opens its borders to Syrian refugees who have fled for the exact same reasons.


of Syria’s Palestinian refugees are taking shelter in Jordan, although testimonies speak of more than that.


of Syria’s Palestinian refugees in Jordan are dependent on UNRWA's financial and in-kind aids, receiving a monthly $40 per capita.


of these refugees in Jordan are classified by UNRWA as “vulnerable”.


are the yearly fees Syria’s Palestinian refugees have to pay to study at Jordanian universities, the same as international students.

Syria's Palestinian refugees in Egypt

Egyptian authorities have been imposing restrictions on Palestinians holding Syrian documents. They receive much harsher treatment than Syrian refugees and prohibit ‘UNRWA’ from helping them on the pretext that they do not want to establish Palestinian refugee camps on Egyptian territory. Meanwhile, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not provide aid for these refugees as it does with their Syrian peers, claiming that they are UNRWA’s problem, not the UNHCR’s.

With the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi assuming office, the number of Palestinian refugees from Syria in Egypt fell dramatically from 10,000 in 2012 and early 2013 to 6,000 as hundreds headed to Europe by sea through smuggling networks for large sums of money estimated at 3,000-5,000 dollars, and another 200 families entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing.

Syria’s Palestinian refugees in Gaza

Statistics by the Ministry of Social Affairs in the Gaza Strip show that approximately 1,000 Palestinian refugees have fled Syria to the coastal enclave, making up nearly 130 families. Earlier in 2013, 220 families were registered, but due to the hardly-endurable humanitarian circumstances in the Strip, dozens of them traveled to Libya and Egypt with the interest of moving to Europe.

Palestinian-Syrian refugees in the Gaza Strip have been suffering from poor economic and living conditions, given the lack of employment opportunities and the high cost of rent.

As a result of poor funding, UNRWA could not provide regular aid to these families. Official bodies and the PLO could only provide a few short-term aid opportunities that did not exceed $300 in total to date, according to the testimonies of Palestinian-Syrian refugees in the Gaza Strip.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor calls on

  • UNRWA and UNHCR to urgently fulfill their duties towards Palestinian-Syrian refugees and to integrate them further into their programs through intensifying financial support and putting an end to violations practiced against them by States where they are staying, and to ensure their legal residence away from deportation procedures against them.
  • The countries to which Palestinian-Syrians resort to put an end to the abuses and pressures exerted on refugees, to grant them refugee status, to stop the threat of deportation or movement restrictions, and to provide them with access to work and integration into the education system.
  • The international community to pressure the Israeli authorities to urgently work for the return of these refugees to the homes they have been displaced from in Palestine as a result of the Israeli occupation, demands that Israel shoulder its responsibilities towards these refugees and provide them with aid and compensation, and to enforce UN Resolution 194 regarding Palestinian refugees.
  • European countries to reduce the waiting periods for Palestinian-Syrian refugees to obtain residency, and to provide safer ways for refugees to reach Europe legally, rather than forcing them to risk their lives by seeking smugglers as a means to facilitate the reunification with their families.
  • ● All the world’s countries, especially wealthy nations, to increase the amount of financial support provided to the countries receiving asylum seekers and to share responsibility for refugees through the adoption of a policy of fair and equitable distribution.