NAZARETH, (PIC)– The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has condemned attacks on Palestinian children in Syria.
The agency said in a press release that on the afternoon of Monday 25 February, Basem al-Hindi, a 14 year-old Palestinian refugee living in Syria, sustained serious shrapnel wounds to his head suspected to be from a mortar round which exploded on a public road in Damascus.
The statement said: “A few hours later, Basem died of his wounds. This fatal incident occurred in Qaboun, Damascus, within metres of UNRWA’s Tantouri School, where Basem was a student. Tantouri is one of thirty schools managed by UNRWA and currently functioning in the wider area of Damascus suburbs.”
According to URNWA, the explosion that took the life of Basem al-Hindi occurred approximately ten minutes after the school day had ended, and as the 250 Palestine refugee children attending Tantouri School were streaming out of the compound to head home, many of them on foot.
It added that another Palestinian student was injured in the explosion, while a Syrian man and his two daughters were killed. The explosion reportedly targeted a checkpoint recently set up close to the school.
UNRWA expressed that it “is saddened by this tragic and violent end to the life of a Palestine refugee child and three members of a Syrian family.”
It has strongly condemned the perpetrators of this act, and deplored “the flagrant manner in which the safety and lives of so many Palestinian refugee children in the area were placed in grave danger”, adding that no military or political objective could justify such blatant disregard for the safety of children or the sanctity of human life.
The agency repeated its call to all sides to desist from taking up positions or conducting the conflict in residential areas. All sides must comply with their international legal obligations, notably the duty to respect and preserve human life, and to protect refugees and other civilians in armed conflict.
“UNRWA, once more and with a renewed sense of urgency, reiterates its previous calls to all concerned parties to resolve the conflict in Syria through dialogue and negotiations,” added the statement.
SPECIAL TOPIC – PALESTINIAN REFUGEES