Over 400 migrants on flight from Belarus touch down in Kurdistan Region's Erbil
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Over 400 Kurds on a flight from Belarus arrived in the Kurdistan Region, a government spokesperson said during a press conference at Erbil International Airport (EIA) on Thursday evening.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesperson Jutyar Adil said the efforts of Erbil and the Iraqi government "had good results," as he offered his "warm welcome" to a group of migrants returning from Belarus.
Of the 431 migrants on board the flight from Minsk, Belarus, 95 percent are from the Kurdistan Region, Adil explained.
Over 400 migrants, the majority of which are ethnic Kurds, arrive on Thursday evening at Erbil International Airport from Minsk after having been stranded with thousands of others in freezing conditions along the border of Belarus.— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) November 18, 2021
📸 Wladimir van Wilgenburg/Kurdistan 24 pic.twitter.com/Q9Me0sLd8C
The official noted that the repatriation flight marks the "first step" towards solving the migrant crisis on the Belarus-Polish border, highlighting the roles of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow, the Kurdistan Region's Department of Foreign Relations (DFR).
"KRG reiterates that these migrants fell victims to smugglers and traffickers," Adil said, adding that "this issue was politicized" and used to "undermine the reputation of the Kurdistan Region."
Those efforts "have failed," he affirmed.
The official assured Kurdistan's European and Iraqi partners that the KRG is committed to reducing the phenomenon of migration and cracking down on human smugglers.
Adil said that the work of a committee tasked with addressing the issue has led to the arrests of ten people on human smuggling allegations from the Kurdistan Region.