Some 3,871 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian conflict since 2011, 462 of whom died due to torture, the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria revealed this week.
Almost 2,000 Palestinians were killed due to shelling by the regime, particularly in Damascus after tens of thousands fled the largest Palestinian refugee camp, Yarmouk, which was destroyed in an extensive bombing campaign causing heavy civilian casualties.
Hundreds of Palestinians have also died in jails of the Assad regime after being subjected to torture; last month three men, identified as Anas Abbas Awad, born 1990 who was arrested in 2011, and brothers, Mohamed Fayyad Mustafa, born 1979, and Nabil Fayyad Mustafa, born 1980, who were arrested in 2013, were confirmed as dead, having not been seen since their arrest.
Numerous Palestinians in Syria are also fighting alongside the Syrian regime in several factions, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Army. Battles between pro-government forces and opposition groups have left dozens dead.
Last month, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) moved to send a delegation to meet with Syrian officials to discuss the issue of Palestine refugees in the country.
PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad reported the prime minister saying that the Syrian crises “will never distance the Syrians from supporting the Palestinians and their efforts to face the ‘deal of the century’.”
Despite the destruction witnessed in Yarmouk, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis affirmed that the government would rebuild it and return the refugees. The PLO has since called for Palestinian refugees who fled the Syrian conflict to register their names in order to facilitate their return to the camps in Syria, despite many fearing arrest or repercussions from the regime.
Millions of refugees are also at risk of permanently losing their homes following the announcement of a new law that allows the Assad regime to confiscate vacated property. The new legislation has increased fears that many Syrians may face permanent exile, particularly those who opposed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, whilst those perceived as loyalists may be given access to certain neighbourhoods instead.
Analysts further suspect that the law has been designed as an instrument of demographic change and social engineering, comparing it to the absentee property law implemented by Israel in 1950 which allowed Tel Aviv to seize Palestinian land.