The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has estimated that 400,000 Palestinian refugees are now affected by the conflict in Syria. The figure includes almost 5,000 who have fled to Jordan and around 33,000 who have sought refuge in Lebanon.
These "double refugees", said UNRWA, are in dire need of urgent humanitarian assistance due to the escalation of the fighting that has torn Syria apart over the past two years. At least 65 Palestinians refugees have been killed in Syria in the past few weeks, including five children.
UNRWA pointed out that despite the high risk of violence in the conflict-affected areas, since the uprising began in March 2011 the agency's network has managed to deliver food parcels, mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits for 28,000 families. An additional 73,000 families have received cash assistance in the same period.
An UNRWA spokesman stressed that the armed conflict in Syria is causing death and displacement on an unacceptable scale as well as a worsening humanitarian situation. The most seriously-affected areas are, he noted, the governorates of Damascus, Aleppo, Daraa and Homs.