Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Syria

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 17 May 2010
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Syria, 17 May 2010, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Quick facts
Number of IDPs433,000
Percentage of total population2.0%
Start of current displacement situation1967
Peak number of IDPs (Year)433,000 (2007)
New displacement0
Causes of displacementInternational armed conflict, human rights violations
Human development index107

The situation of hundreds of thousands of Syrians forcibly displaced from the Golan Heights during the Six Day War in 1967 is still unresolved. The Syrian government estimated in 2007 that over 430,000 people remained internally displaced, including the descendants of those originally forced to flee from the Golan. As occupying power in the Golan, Israel has prevented IDPs from returning to their homes and destroyed hundreds of villages. In 1981, Israel formally annexed the area, but this annexation has not been recognised internationally.

The living conditions of displaced Syrians are not well documented. Most displaced families appear to have integrated in Damascus or elsewhere; however many have expressed a wish to return to Golan, and none have achieved the restitution of their property or compensation for property lost or destroyed.

The Syrian government has made some efforts to rebuild in areas bordering occupied territory, but progress has been slow. Meanwhile, Israel has continued to promote settlements in the Golan: as of 2009, more than 17,000 Israeli settlers were in 32 settlements in the Golan, alongside 18,000 to 21,000 Syrians in the remaining five villages of an estimated 164 which had existed prior to the occupation.

Syrians in the Golan reportedly continued to face discrimination and to be separated from family members residing in Syria.

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