Ghost Town: Palestinians in Syria’s Yarmuk

Published November 6th, 2018 - 08:46 GMT

Founded in 1957 with tents for Palestinians forced to leave their homes by the establishment of Israel, Yarmuk grew into a sprawling neighborhood of permanent structures that became home to 160,000 Palestinians, as well as Syrians.

After years of fighting, crippling siege and bombardment, what was once the Palestinian diaspora largest urban settlement in southern Damascus has been reduced to a sea of debris.

Now it is a ghost town where bulldozers have carved wide passages through a sprawling jumble of concrete debris and mangled steel rods.

Former residents of the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk are desperately counting on assistance from abroad to help raise the once-bustling neighborhood back out of the rubble.

People need someone to rebuild the houses so they can return.

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A man plays with cats in a street in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man plays with cats in a street in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Destroyed buildings are seen in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Destroyed buildings are seen in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man sits in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man sits in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A vehicle of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) drives through a street in Yarmuk camp southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A vehicle of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) drives through a street in Yarmuk camp southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man walks past destroyed buildings decorated with Palestinian flags in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man walks past destroyed buildings decorated with Palestinian flags in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man stands in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man stands in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

People walk past destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

People walk past destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Boys ride their bicycle past a destroyed tank and buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Boys ride their bicycle past a destroyed tank and buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man stands near a destroyed building in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man stands near a destroyed building in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A man plays with cats in a street in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Destroyed buildings are seen in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man sits in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A vehicle of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) drives through a street in Yarmuk camp southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man walks past destroyed buildings decorated with Palestinian flags in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man stands in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
People walk past destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Boys ride their bicycle past a destroyed tank and buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man stands near a destroyed building in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man plays with cats in a street in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man plays with cats in a street in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Destroyed buildings are seen in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Destroyed buildings are seen in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man sits in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man sits in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A vehicle of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) drives through a street in Yarmuk camp southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A vehicle of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) drives through a street in Yarmuk camp southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man walks past destroyed buildings decorated with Palestinian flags in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man walks past destroyed buildings decorated with Palestinian flags in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man stands in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man stands in a street near destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
People walk past destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
People walk past destroyed buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Boys ride their bicycle past a destroyed tank and buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Boys ride their bicycle past a destroyed tank and buildings in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man stands near a destroyed building in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. 
LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A man stands near a destroyed building in the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk southern Damascus on November 1, 2018. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP