Last Friday, two Palestinian men were hanged in public on Palestine Street in Yarmouk, a suburb in the south of Damascus city.
“UNRWA is shocked and distressed by these killings and the manner in which they were carried out,” the UN agency said in a statement.
“International humanitarian law applies to all parties to the conflict in Syria and extra-judicial killings are in violation of that law. UNRWA particularly deplores the increased levels of fear and trauma these deaths will generate among Palestine refugees across Syria.”
Prior to the Syria conflict, Yarmouk and its neighboring areas were home to over 150,000 Palestine refugees living alongside approximately one million Syrians.
“UNRWA recalls assurances from the Government of Syria to respect the neutrality of Palestine refugee camps. UNRWA calls on the Government of Syria to fulfil these assurances and to avoid conducting armed conflict in residential areas, including in Palestine refugee camps,” the agency said.
Despite repeated statements from Palestinian officials that Syria camps are neutral in the internal conflict, Palestinians have been adversely affected by fighting in the two year conflict.
“In December 2012, intense fighting triggered large scale displacement of Palestinians and Syrians living in Yarmouk. Since then, armed opposition groups have maintained a presence in residential areas, with government forces positioned at the northern entrance of Yarmouk,” UNRWA said.
At least 20,000 Palestinian refugees have fled to Lebanon and endure difficult conditions, with limited access to basic services and cramped housing, according to Maan news agency.
The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said this week that around 1,038 Palestinians have been killed during the Syrian conflict, which has claimed the lives of around 70,000 people.