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

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Syria

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 23 March 2011
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Syria, 23 March 2011, 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 (2007-2010)
New displacement0
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence
Human development index111

The current internal displacement situation in Syria started during the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights during the Six Day war in June 1967; since then IDPs have been unable to access their areas of origin in the Golan. In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan in violation of international law. Initially, over 140,000 people were displaced, but by 2010 the Syrian government estimated that the original IDPs and their descendents numbered 433,000. Most displaced families appeared to have integrated in or near Damascus, but their situations are not well documented. People from the four remaining Druze villages within the occupied Golan have been separated from their families across the demarcation line and contact has been virtually impossible since 1967 for all but the few pilgrims nd students who have been allowed to cross each year.

Negotiations between the Israeli and Syrian governments have been inconclusive; while close to 20,000 Israelis have settled in 32 settlements in the Golan since 1981. IDPs have not achieved any restitution or compensation for their lost or destroyed property. In 2010, the Israeli government announced its decision to withdraw from the northern part of the Golanese village of Ghajar, which was determined by the UN to be in Lebanon. The Syrian villagers who acquired Israeli citizenship are likely to be displaced in some way.

In addition, in the 1970s, Kurds were displaced in Syria's north-eastern provinces. The number of people affected is uncertain, but up to 60,000 families reportedly left to the urban centres of the north such as Aleppo and Hasaka, with many of them forcibly displaced following the aborted attempt to create an "Arab belt" along the Turkish border. Many Kurds were already vulnerable as they had had their citizenship withdrawn in 1962 after failing to prove their residency. The project was suspended in 1976 but never reversed, and there were no reports of those displaced achieving durable solutions.

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