Over 600 migrants stuck for weeks on Belarus border fly home to Iraq, Kurdistan Region
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Airports in both Erbil and Baghdad on early Friday morning received two planes carrying a total of over 600 Iraqi nationals who were among the thousands of migrants stranded for weeks in freezing and hostile conditions on the border of Belarus and nations in the European Union.
In two separate flights, one landing at roughly 2:00 a.m. and the other at 6:00 a.m., families and individuals who took a significant risk to be resettled in another nation returned to their home country.
The group repatriations are the first since just over 400 arrived on a previous flight that landed in Erbil on Nov. 18.
The flights are jointly organized by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal Iraqi government in Baghdad, according to the Kurdish government’s Media and Information Department.
In total, the government-sponsored flights have brought home over 1,000 individuals who had recently been stuck in Belarus.
Both Iraq and the Kurdistan Region follow a longstanding policy to refuse forced repatriations of its citizens, accepting only those who voluntarily return.