Thursday, April 9, 2015

ISIS-Besieged Yarmouk: What makes it a refugee camp?

Arutz 7     Attention is focused on the Islamic State (ISIS)-besieged Yarmouk "Palestinian refugee camp" in Syria – which is actually a normative neighborhood in Damascus.

ISIS jihadists and murderers have overrun the neighborhood in recent days, murdering civilians using firing squads or beheadings, and wantonly destroying apartment buildings. 

A Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) arrived in Damascus for talks on "helping residents" in Yarmouk. Hundreds of families have been evacuated from the neighborhood – the latest stage in the population depletion from 112,000 in 2002 to some 18,000 today.

The humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk has turned attention to what news reports around the world call a "Palestinian refugee camp" – when in fact it is not officially recognized as such in Syria, and is rather a city (madina) in the Damascus Governorate.

Yarmouk was established in 1957 on an area outside Damascus to accommodate refugees who were squatters, according to UNRWA, which largely administers the area. One is left to wonder what the Syrian authorities did with these "squatters" for nearly a decade, after they supposedly left Israel during the 1948 War of Independence.

The area later developed into a thriving neighborhood. Lina Sinjab reported for BBC in August 2010 that "although [Yarmouk] is identified as a [refugee] camp, there are no tents or slums in sight. It is a residential area with beauty salons and internet cafes. The Palestinians who live here are well integrated into society, some even hold government posts."

Residents of the camp number many professionals, including doctors, engineers and civil servants.
This of course raises the question: what is UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees – still doing there? [...]


  1. There are beauty salons and internet cafes in 'refugee camps' in israel, yesha, too. If they'd have some sense, they'd open a sheitelmacher store and undercut the charedi sheitelmachers.

  2. A similar question can be asked why a State that has a $300,000,000,000 GDP takes U.S. foreign aid.


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