100,000 Palestinians have fled Syria for Europe, more than 2,000 drowned at sea

Special to WorldTribune.com

Some 100,000 Palestinians have fled refugee camps in Syria for Europe, the head of the Palestinian Forum in Europe said on Sept. 6.

Palestinian refugees at Yarmouk camp in Syria.  /EPA
Palestinian refugees at Yarmouk camp in Syria. /EPA

Ziad al-Aloul said 2,300 Palestinians drowned as they tried to reach Greece and about 430 Palestinians and Syrians went missing while they were on their way to Italy.

Aloul told the Al-Resalah online newspaper that nearly 500,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Syrian refugee camps and only 200,000 of have remained inside Syria, while the rest have found shelter in a number of Arab countries.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported last month that more than 250,000 migrants had arrived in Europe by sea so far in 2015, 124,000 in Greece and 98,000 in Italy. July set a new record for a single month, with 107,500 migrants estimated to have entered the EU.

A spokesperson for the European Commission called the situation “beyond urgent,” and said said that a “collective European response” was required to deal with the hundreds of thousands of people trying to reach European shores.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry said that it was following “with great interest” the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Syria. Most of the Palestinians living in Syria have been forced to leave the country to “unknown destinations because of the harsh conditions surrounding them,” the foreign ministry said.

The ministry said it was also in touch with the United Nations to discuss the possibility of allowing Palestinian refugees in Arab countries to move to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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