Homs camp

Homs Camp is located within the city of Homs, 160 km north of Damascus. Prior the conflict, 20,000 Palestinian residents, including 2,500 Syrians, were living inside the Camp.

In recent years, the area’s population has reached 22,000 individuals at times; however, due to immigration and displacement, the area’s current population is estimated at 21,000 individuals, including 6,500 IDPs.

The Homs camp had witnessed security tensions throughout the years of the conflict, which included arrests, sporadic mortar shelling, and clashes with the Syrian security forces. A settlement committee was formed, consisting of four Palestinian factions operating in the camp, in 2013. The committee worked to neutralize the camp, as it invited the Palestinian factions to an emergency meeting to develop a mechanism and an action plan to overcome this crisis. However, the clashes continued in subsequent periods, but at a light pace.

Notably, GoS (Government of Syria) security forces block the camp entrances with military checkpoints that impose restrictions on food and basic needs access to the local households. The camp is isolated from its surrounding by a metal wall built by GoS in June 2015.

The majority of the Camp residents live in poverty as a result of extended unemployment (more than 60%) and limited provision of services; the situation has forced hundreds of people to flee the country, taking dangerous illegal routes by land and sea. Residents have access to only 4 hours of electricity per day. In addition, the cost of gas for cooking and diesel for other uses rose sharply and families were no longer able to purchase as easily. Health facilities in the camp were largely non-existent or minimally operational due to a lack of equipment.

Only 5 schools are available in the camp (all operated by UNRWA), for the whole population, with none offering education to all ages.

For High School education, children are forced to attend schools outside the camp. Overcrowding in schools is noted with classes having up to 60 students at time. Less than half of the teaching staff have the required knowledge and skills for teaching. Almost 10% of the children are reported to be out school; reasons pertain to the economic situation primarily, as many children are forced to work for income, early marriage of females, and the low level of education of the parents.