Internally displaced persons in Syria

Internally displaced persons in Syria are more than half the people fleeing the Syrian Civil War moved only within Syria itself. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 7 million persons in Syria are internally displaced or in need of humanitarian assistance, as of 2017. Most live in houses, often badly damaged by the war. Due to security concerns, poor access to areas of need and unpredictability, humanitarian efforts were directed at emergency aid. The complexity of administrative procedures and limited capacity of NGOs permitted to operate in Syria are also cited as challenges to assistance.[1]

Human toll of the Syrian Civil War
Population 21 ±.5: Displaced 6 ±.5,
Refugee 5.5 ±.5, Fatality 0.5 ±.1 (millions)
Syrian refugees
By countryTurkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt
SettlementsCamps: (Jordan)
Displaced Syrians
Casualties of the war
CrimesHuman rights violations, massacres, rape
Return of refugees  · Refugees as weapons  · Prosecution of war criminals

While legal definitions of "refugee" do not apply to them, they are often referred to as such. The term internally displaced person (IDP) is used to distinguish them, with "(forcibly) displaced person" applying to both groups.

Humanitarian AidEdit

Shelter aid for internally displaced persons is coordinated mainly by the Global Shelter Cluster (co-led by UNHCR, IFRC and the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration). No formal camps were set up, but some public buildings are rehabilitated as collective short-term shelters. For example, of the 90,000 people from east Aleppo registered by the UN, the vast majority live in houses, but 4,250 remain in the Jibreen collective shelter, as of January 2017.[2] More people are targeted by programs of help in upgrading private unfinished buildings and of winterization and shelter kit distribution (blankets, light construction materials, tools, etc.). Only since recently the situation allows for implementing more durable solutions: full, long-term rehabilitation of damaged houses to basic living conditions, light infrastructure repair and legal help. In 2016, collective shelters were rehabilitated for 24,000 persons, kits were distributed to 26,000 people, 40,000 benefited from private building upgrades, 12,000 from long-term house repairs, and 5,000 from basic infrastructure repair.

Foreign RefugeesEdit

Until 2011, UNRWA provided services in 12 camps administered by Syrian authorities, including Homs and Yarmouk. The UNRWA estimates that 450,000 Palestinian refugees remain in Syria, of whom up to 280,000 are internally displaced, and an estimated 43,000 are trapped in hard-to-reach locations. Some continue to be displaced multiple times as a result of armed violence. Additionally, 120,000 are displaced to neighboring countries. Many sustained extensive damage and were forcibly displaced due to armed conflict.[3]

PA President Mahmoud Abbas contacted the UN Secretary-General about the situation, and the latter tried to broker a deal with Israel to allow Palestinian refugees living in Syria to resettle in the West Bank and Gaza. However, when Israel agreed, with the condition that they give up any future appeal to remain permanently in the country, Abbas rejected it and said "it's better they die in Syria than give [this demand] up".[4] As of January 2017, UNRWA manages 9 shelters with about 2,600 Palestinian refugees and provides cash, food and non-food items to many more.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sector partners providing urgent aid to the civilians of Aleppo (January 2017). Shelter Sector 2016 Year-End Report (Report). Maha Shaban. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ OCHA (4 January 2017). Aleppo Situation Report No. 12 (Report). Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Escalation of violence in Syria claiming Palestine refugee lives and destroying civilian homes". UNRWA. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ (2013-01-11). "Abbas: Let Palestinians Die in Syria Rather than Give Up 'Right of Return'". Algemeiner. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  5. ^ "Syria Crisis and Palestine refugees". UNRWA. Retrieved 1 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Syria Regional Crisis – Emergency Appeal 2017" (PDF). UNWRA. Retrieved 1 May 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)