Ever since the 1948 Israeli War, more than 5 million Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes, taking refuge outside their homeland. Of those, more than 1.5 million individuals are registered in refugee camps across the Middle East.
Palestinians are not the only ones taking refuge in camps, of course. Ever since the start of the Syrian civil war, camps in the region are being constructed to accommodate the Syrian refugees. More than 4.8 million Syrians are currently refugees.
There are a number of refugee camps built across various countries in the region, going all the way back to 1948. Here are 11 of the biggest refugee camps by population across the Middle East:
Syrian refugee camps
1. Zaatari Camp, Jordan
First opened in 2012, the camp population is estimated to be 83,000 as of 2015.
2. Azraq Camp, Jordan
Devloped and operated by the UNHCR and the government of Jordan, the camp first opened in April 2014. As of March 2016, the number of Syrian refugees in the camp is estimated to be well over 32,000.
3. Kilis Öncüpınar Accommodation Facility, Turkey
Having opened in 2012, the refugee camp in Turkey is home to around 14,000 people as of 2014.
4. Shatila, Lebanon
Although originally set up for Palestinian refugees in 1949, it has become home for Syrian refugees ever since the start of the Syrian war.
The exact number of Syrian refugees is not very clear, however it's been reported that the population in the camp has nearly doubled since the start of the Syrian war.
"Before 2011, the camp’s population stood at 20,000. Since then it has nearly doubled to almost 40,000," Abed Moubayed from Basmeh and Zeitooneh, an NGO working with Syrian refugees in Shatila said, according to The National .
Palestinian refugee camps
5. Yarmouk, Syria
Established in 1957, Yarmouk hosts around 148,500 refugees. The camp is an unofficial camp by UNRWA . Unofficial camps are camps that were established by the host government. Regardless, refugees in these camps have equal access to UNRWA services except that UNRWA is not responsible for solid waste collection in the unofficial camps.
6. Jabalia, Gaza Strip
Located in the North Gaza Governorate, the camp had a population of 93,455 in 2006, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Today the camp is home to about 110,000 refugees, according to UNRWA .
7. Baqa'a Camp, Jordan
Established in 1968, it is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan with 119,000 registered Palestinian refugees living in the camp.
8. Rafah Camp, Gaza Strip
Established in 1949, the Rafah camp is located in the south of Gaza, near the Egyptian border. Rafah is now home to more than 104,000 refugees.
9. Amman New Camp, Jordan
57,000 registered refugees live in Amman New Camp, which was established in 1955.
10. Ain El Helweh, Lebanon
Established in 1948, the camp near the city of Saida was undertaken by UNRWA in 1952, where the organization gradually began replacing the tents with concrete shelters. More than 54,116 refugees are currently living in the camp.
11. Marka Camp, Jordan
Established in 1968, the camp currently hosts more than 53,000 registered Palestinian refugees.