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Studies 20 February, 2013

Palestinian Refugees and the Syrian Revolution

Tareq Hammoud

Tarek Hamoud is a Palestinian activist and writer from Syria and currently acts as a coordinator for the Working Group for Palestinians in Syria. Hamoud previously worked as a teacher in Syrian state sector schools; in 2005-2007 acted as a representative of the London-based Palestine Return Centre (PRC); and until 2011 was the Director of WAJEB (Assembly for Palestinian Return), an organization dedicated to the research and awareness on Palestinian refugees living in Syria. Hamoud has authored a number of political articles related to Palestine and Palestinian refugees and has appeared as a guest on numerous televised discussions. Hamoud holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sharia Law from Damascus University, a diploma in Refugee Studies from Malaysia’s Asian University and a certificate in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the Syrian International Academy. He is currently preparing for a Master’s degree in Human Rights.

Relying on statistics collected in the field, this study examines the involvement of Palestinians in the Syrian Revolution. Politically, this issue has generated heated debates among observers due to its sensitive nature and its implications for both the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition forces. After briefly considering the status of Palestinian refugees in Syria from a human, historical, and legal perspective, this study seeks to offer a comprehensive analysis of their involvement, with focus on its political dimension.

The findings are based on the field surveys and interviews conducted by the author, in addition to press reports emerging from the Palestinian camps in Syria. References to social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are purposely minimized given the overwhelming amount of information provided and the doubts on its reliability. This, in spite of fact that the Syrian Revolution has turned social media into the prime source for information, given the tight security restrictions placed on traditional media. Events on the ground are beyond the scope of this paper with the focus being on the role of Palestinians within the Syrian events in Deraa, Lattaqiya, and the Yarmuk refugee camp in Damascus. Arguably, these developments represent critical turning points in the evolution of the Palestinian scene in Syria. The events in other refugee camps in the country are treated in less detail, due to the similarity of their context with the above refugee camps.

 

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* This article was translated by the ACRPS Translation and English Editing Department. The original Arabic version can be found here.

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