“Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps have become more crowded since March of 2011, but in large numbers starting in mid-December 2012, when Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp was heavily bombed. Between 70,000 and 90,000 Syrian-Palestinians have entered Lebanon and are staying mainly in Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps. Most were forced out of Syria because of persistent and accelerating civil-sectarian war, while others have left because of the lack of resources.
This young American had the privilege of speaking with Wisam, who has been living as a refugee in Lebanon since 2012. Wisam was born in 1986 in Damascus, Syria. Unlike many Syrian-Palestinians, who are often born in refugee camps, he was born in a hospital in Damascus. He is the middle-child of five, with three brothers and one sister. His father worked a bureaucratic position in the Syrian government, and his mother stayed at home with the children at their two flats in Almshtel, near Seyeda Zeinab, south of Damascus.
In Syria, Wisam did not face any discrimination for being Palestinian.
He remembers being treated as an equal by Syrians and by governmental agencies.
Like almost all Palestinians however, he did attend UNRWA schools and reminisced, with seeming nostalgia, about what he considers was a good education, reciting the general public view that UNRWA schools were often better Syrian state schools.