ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A bus carrying Iraqi refugees from Turkey to the Kurdistan Region on Friday rolled over in the border town of Sirnak, killing and injuring over 30 people, according to security sources.
Turkey hosts hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who fled to the country after the Islamic State (IS) emerged in northern Iraq in 2014.
At least nine people were killed, and some 28 others were wounded after the bus transferring the refugees overturned in the southeastern Turkish town of Sirnak, a security source said.
The bus was part of a convoy of ten buses carrying Iraqi refugees as they were returning to their hometowns and crossing into the Kurdistan Region before heading to various Iraqi cities.
According to Turkish estimates, some 160,000 Iraqis have been residing illegally in Turkey, with some 340,000 additional Iraqis living there legally.
Hundreds of Iraqis and Syrians have died and drowned as they tried to reach Europe through Turkey and by sea, seeking a safe home abroad as their countries suffer from violence and armed conflicts.
In December 2017, Iraq declared final victory over IS after nearly three years of fighting which caused significant damage to the local infrastructure and drove millions of people out of their homes.
Human rights organizations have recently criticized the Iraqi federal government for forcing civilians living in IDP camps to return to their areas, some of which are still unsafe, as the country gears up to hold elections in May 2018.
Editing by Nadia Riva