Iraq Receives Refugees In Syria After A Long Wait
Iraq–The Ukraine war seems to have kindled conscious in other parts of the world, as 800 Iraqi refugees actually could leave Syria and return back home, after the longest wait. The first group, media sources have confirmed had left on buses via the Al-Yarubiyah border crossing and had been so far living in villages bordering Iraq.
The Syrian semi-Kurdish autonomous government has confirmed that more are to follow in the coming days. It seems many had decided to stay back as the Daesh group expanded its presence in Iraq. They were seeking refuge. Most have been living in villages bordering Iraq. So, while they were close to their country of origin, they couldn’t enter it. These regions have remained under the control of the Kurdish-led forces that rule regions of north and northeast Syria.
There is a huge Iraqi population residing in Syria. Many have sought refugee status through a specialized UNHCR programme. But there are some 60,000-70,000 Iraqis who have never approached UNHCR or have been denied refugee status through the UNHCR refugee status determination process and continue to reside illegally in the country, tolerated by the Syrian authorities. Most Iraqis in Syria are concentrated in the Saida Zeineb quarter in Damascus located near prominent Shia shrines.
Many of these refugees are relatives of suspected IS members, including children. They had been held in Kurdish-controlled camps in Syria’s northeast, the largest of which is al-Hol, with around 56,000 displaced people and refugees. Their living conditions, both physically and psychologically have been repeatedly reported by Human Rights groups as unhealthy and counterproductive. Since last year, the situation for refugees has been improving. Iraqi authorities could repatriate hundreds of Iraqi families from Al-Hol.