ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration on Wednesday announced the return of 94 refugees from Turkey as part of the voluntary program to bring displaced citizens home.
Their return was organized in coordination with the ministry’s office in Turkey, the Iraqi Embassy in Ankara, and the Ministry of Transport which provides buses to the refugees to cross the border through the Kurdistan Region’s Ibrahim Khalil International Border Crossing.
The refugees were residing in Turkey’s Ankara, Çorum, Eskişehir, Samsun, Zonguldag, Kütahya, Çankiri, and Trabzon regions.
The statement also noted that in the past three months, the government has helped send home 1,449 Iraqi refugees licing in Turkey.
The voluntary return program has been ongoing for over a year, encouraging Iraqi citizens to return to their liberated areas, previously occupied by the Islamic State.
Following the emergence of the jihadist group and its expansion in 2014, six million Iraqis were internally displaced, with thousands fleeing to neighboring and western countries.
Since the beginning of this year, the Iraqi federal government has actively helped IDPs and Iraqi refugees settle back into their retaken homes. Many, however, continue to resist a return to their towns due to security concerns and lack of basic services.
Over the past year, the Islamic State has also carried out insurgency attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes in the country despite Iraq declaring victory against the jihadist group in December 2017.
Editing by Nadia Riva