For Syria’s Palestinians, Fleeing Refugee Camp Easier Said than Done

Over 1,000 Cross Into Lebanon, But Path Is Difficult

by Jason Ditz, December 18, 2012

Residents of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus fled the camp en masse over the past two days, as rebels and regime clashed over control of it. The rebels have the camp, for now, but tens of thousands of refugees have no place to go.

Many of them are choosing, like so many others in Syria, to flee across the border as the civil war gets worse. That’s not so easy for the Palestinians, who are refugees in the first place and are struggling to both get permission to leave the country and permission to enter another.

Still they’re trying, and over 1,000 of the Palestinians have managed to flee into Lebanon, where they hope to ride the war out in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, the largest in Lebanon.

The border crossing is crowded, with many of the refugees traveling on foot and a lot of paperwork and checkpoints between them and the relative calm of a Lebanese camp. Still, as fighting over the Yarmouk camp continues, more are expected to brave the crossing, for lack of any real alternative.

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