Some 700 Palestinians are stranded at the Iraq-Syria border, living in inhumane conditions in no-man's land after fleeing violence in Iraq, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.
Jennifer Pagonis, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said bloodshed and persecution in Baghdad had caused increasing numbers of Palestinians in Iraq to seek refuge in Syria, despite Damascus having refused to admit them.
A group of 356 have been living in the no-man's land between Iraq and Syria since May and a second group of 340 are stuck on the Iraqi side of the border, she told journalists in Geneva.
"The Palestinians continue to live in inhumane and insecure conditions," Pagonis said. She urged the international community "to help find a humane solution for these refugees who are persecuted inside Iraq and have nowhere to go".
UNHCR estimates about 15,000 of a group of 34,000 Palestinians remain within Iraq. Most are descendants of those who fled their land when Israel was created in 1948.
Syria already hosts 435,000 Palestinian refugees registered with the U.N. and says it is the responsibility of other countries in the region to share hosting the Palestinians.
Up to 1 million Iraqis have fled to Syria since the U.S. invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power in 2003, most fleeing sectarian strife and attacks on minorities. In addition to Palestinians they include Christians and Shi'ite Kurds.
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