Key facts

► The largest zone of refugees’ concentration in Syria is Jaramana, a suburb in the greater Damascus area. It is known for the strong presence of the foreigners and displaced people from all backgrounds who live and work here influencing the urban development as a catalizator for urban Damascus growth.

► In the years Jaramana has deeply increased its inhabitants because of the arrival of high numbers of Palestinian and Iraqis refugees and now due to the crescent number of internally displaced people.

► Extremely high density, crowded, and busy satellite town, its population density is greater than 15 000 inhabitants per km ².

► Actually Jaramana is a wealth of different players to be met. Each of them has different interests and needs. This creates an incredible complex social network, which depending on time and place creates a different emphasis.

Text from: ETH Studio Basel, Jaramana Refugee City.

inhabitants per km2

Inhabitants in 1999

Inhabitants in 1999

Jaramana has grown from a Druze village. The exodus of rural Druze to Damascus and its outskirts occurred in response to severe regional economic inequalities. Most of them had previously lived in the Jabal Druze (Druze Mountains). In 1940 the population of Jaramana was just 1,800 and in 1965 has grown slowly to around 5,000. Although the government began to restrict the concentration of Druze in Jaramana by constructing 1967 a large refugee camp (Jaramana Camp) for 25,000 Palestinians, the Village established its importance for Druze immigrants.
By 1982 the Population of Jaramana exceeded 65,000, of whom 60 percent were Druze. The growth is due to the arrival of a population from the rural exodus and the arrival of many Christians who left Damascus to settle in the outskirts because of lower rents and cheaper real estate.
The rapid growth of urban Damascus was postponed from the 1990s on satellite towns like Jaramana. The city is growing along a road parallel to the central high- way to the airport and south of Syria. Commercial spaces are increasing along the main axes of communication. In 1999, Jaramana had 70,000 inhabitants and over 114,000 in 2004. The population density is greater than 15,000 inhabitants per km2. The arrival of 30,000 (but the real number must be much higher) registered Iraqi refugees since 2003 strongly contributes today to this development. The Iraqis come primarily from urban areas and represent diverse sectarian backgrounds, including Sunni, Shi’a and Kurds as well as minority groups of Christians, Sabean-Madeans and Palestinians. They do not live in tented camps or collective centers, but like most Syrian urban dwellers, in apartments. New buildings appear everyday, mainly four to five floor buildings.
In 2011, there are more than 18,658 registered refugees. Jaramana had six double-shift schools, one food distribution centre, one health centre and one community centre.

In 2012, Jaramana witnessed a large wave of displacement from neighboring towns and provinces because of the security situation and the increasing ferocity of the battles.
According to the most current data, in 2014 Jaramana has increased its inhabitants up to 189,888. The total population of Rural Damascus Governorate is 2.84 million, representing 13% of the total population of Syria, with approximately 1,65 million people affected by the crisis. The number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) is 770,000 people. Towns hosting the biggest concentrations of IDPs are Sahnaya, Kisweh, Jaramana, Qudsiya and Al-Tal. There are 140 official collective shelters in Rural Damascus hosting IDPs flowing from several areas of intense armed conflict.
In 2014 there are 148,000 people in need (Host Families, Returnees, IDPs and local community). The number of IDPs in Jaramana was 98,000 in 2014 and it increases to 300,000 in 2017. Similar to the rest of Syria, the overwhelming majority of the IDPs in Jaramana are hosted by neighbors, families and friends, or live in unofficial shelters, unfinished buildings, makeshift accommodation, with limited protection from the elements.

Text from: United Nations - OCHA, Syrian Arab Republic, Governorates Profile (2004), and HNO Syria, 2017 Protection Needs Overview (2016).

IDPs hosted in 2016