U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
December 17, 2012
The United States is deeply concerned by reports that dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed or wounded in Yarmouk, an area of Damascus home to 150,000 Palestinian refugees, as a result of aerial bombardment and fighting between Syrian government forces and armed opposition on December 16. These latest attacks mark a significant and alarming escalation of the conflict in Syria. All parties must stop unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law. Those who are responsible for atrocities against the civilian population must be held accountable. We express our deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in Yarmouk.
In addition to the suffering endured by the Syrian people, the United States is concerned about the situation of the more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria who are also increasingly suffering from the escalating violence. The Government of Syria should allow all humanitarian actors full and unfettered access in order to protect and assist the victims of the conflict.
The U.S. Government remains the largest bilateral financial supporter of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), including its emergency operations in Syria. UNRWA is providing cash and food assistance to the more than 350,000 Palestinians in Syria who have been directly affected by the conflict, as well as sheltering displaced Syrians and other civilians in its schools and other facilities. Vulnerable refugees in Syria are also receiving emergency health care, water, sanitation, and educational support through partners with U.S. government funding.