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Airstrike Kills Dozens of Palestinian Refugees in Syria

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Syria's largest Palestinian refugee neighborhood of Yarmouk in Syria was hit with airstrikes, killing dozens of people and wounding scores of civilians.

Reports say Syrian fighter jet fired rockets at the refugee camp on Sunday, forcing the refugees looking for safety.

Yarmouk district of Damascus had offered shelter to Palestinians and others displaced by conflict in other areas in the war-torn country.

In Washington DC today, the United States of America expressed deep concern by reports that dozens were killed and many were wounded in Yarmouk, home to 150,000 Palestinian refugees, as a result of aerial bombardment and fighting between Syrian government forces and armed opposition on December 16.

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An FSA checkpoint. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In her statement today, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says these latest attacks mark a significant and alarming escalation of the conflict in Syria.

She says all parties must stop unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law.

Those who are responsible for atrocities against the civilian population must be held accountable, Ms. Nuland said.

"We express our deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in Yarmouk." - Ms. Nuland
 

Ms. Nuland cites that in addition to the suffering endured by the Syrian people, the United States is concerned about the situation of the more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria who are also increasingly suffering from the escalating violence.

The US says the Government of Syria should allow all humanitarian actors full and unfettered access in order to protect and assist the victims of the conflict.

Ms. Nuland notes that the U.S. Government remains the largest bilateral financial supporter of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), including its emergency operations in Syria.

She adds UNRWA is providing cash and food assistance to the more than 350,000 Palestinians in Syria who have been directly affected by the conflict, as well as sheltering displaced Syrians and other civilians in its schools and other facilities.

"Vulnerable refugees in Syria are also receiving emergency health care, water, sanitation, and educational support through partners with U.S. Government funding." - Ms. Nuland

In September this year, noting that the conflict still appeared to have no end in sight in Syria, humanitarian situation across the country is also "deteriorating rapidly," according to United Nations human rights chief.

According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Navi Pillay, thousands have been killed, thousands more injured in the Middle East country due to violence and unrest.

More than 2.5 million people across the Middle Eastern country are affected by the violence.

In June this year, with growing influx of civilians fleeing from conflict, UN reported that humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.

Reports say up to 1.5 million Syrians are in need of assistance.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection.

OCHA reported that aid agencies continue to face significant access constraints to reaching people in need.

UN estimates that there are over 1 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it's an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.

There are over 66,000 refugees in neighboring countries and there are existing refugees, Palestinian refugees, totaling about 500,000 inside Syria as well as a hundred thousand Iraqi refugees inside Syria.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.

Aid workers in Syria are putting their lives in jeopardy every day to get this relief to vulnerable children, women, and men caught in this crisis.

To help meet the growing needs, the United States is providing food, clean water, basic healthcare, medical and other emergency relief supplies to benefit more than 400,000 people in Syria and neighboring countries so far.

In addition, the World Food Program, WFP has distributed id in coordination with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

With support from the United States and other donors, WFP has expanded its emergency food assistance to reach now 250,000 conflict-affected Syrians.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 19, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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