UNRWA staff members killed in Syria

Façade of one of the schools the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East runs in Syria. Two shells exploded Friday (Sept. 7) in one of the agency’s school compounds. Photo by: UNRWA

A U.N. aid worker was shot dead Sunday (Sept. 9) in Syria, in an area near where a colleague was killed three days earlier.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has deplored the killing of its staff member. The 28-year-old humanitarian was killed in Or’uba, an area near the Yarmouk border, while on his way to work.

The UNRWA staff member killed Thursday (Sept. 6), meanwhile, died after shells hit his home in Yarmouk, a residential area outside Damascus that houses some 1 million Syrians and more than 150,000 Palestinian refugees. His son, a medical student, was also killed in the attack.

It is not yet clear whether the U.N. aid worker was the target in the latest incident. The agency said there was no “shelling” in the area at the time of the incident, but the family has confirmed the victim was “struck by a single bullet to his chest.”

“While there have been persistent allegations of sniper activity around the Yarmouk area, it could not be ascertained whether the staff member’s death was caused by a stray bullet or one fired by a sniper,” the agency said in a news release.

UNRWA has already informed the government of this latest attack on its staff member and has reiterated calls to those involved in the fighting to spare civilians across the country. Fighting in the area has been escalating since Aug. 29. On the day the United Nationsrevised its aid appeal for Syria, two shells exploded in one of the agency’s school compounds and caused “minor damage,” according to a press release.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.