Turkish-backed forces holding dozens of Palestinians in northern Syria, says rights group

Turkish-backed forces holding dozens of Palestinians in northern Syria, says rights group
The Palestinians held by militias from the so-called Syrian National Army are accused of joining enemy groups, Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said.
2 min read
29 April, 2023
An estimated 438,000 Palestinian refugees live in Syria, according to UNRWA [Getty]

More than 40 Palestinians are currently being held by Turkish-backed armed groups in northern Syria after trying to cross into Turkey, a rights group said earlier this week.

The Palestinians are being held by militias from the 'Syrian National Army' (SNA) umbrella group on suspicion of joining groups linked to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or other forces opposing the SNA, Action Group for Palestinians of Syria said, citing "private sources".

The group did not say when the Palestinians had been arrested.

Families of the detained have urged for their fair trial and release, and for them to be allowed to continue their journey into Turkey, the rights group said.

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Almost 1,500 Palestinian families live in northwest Syria, most of them displaced from elsewhere in Syria by a civil war that has now lasted for more than twelve years.

Many of the families were displaced from Ghouta and the Yarmouk and Khan Al-Shih camps of Damascus governorate, as well as Aleppo.

Of the 575,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Syria by the UN as of July 2022, an estimated 438,000 remain in the country.  

Millions of Palestinians have been made refugees since the 1940s, when hundreds of thousands of them were forcibly displaced from their homes by Zionist militias to make way for the state of Israel.

Like other armed actors in the war in Syria, SNA militias have been accused of committing grave human rights violations, including abuse of prisoners.