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Iraq repatriates more citizens from Belarus

The Kurdistan Regional Government previously reported that it had helped bring more than 1,800 people home from the Belarus-Poland border.
Iraqi migrants who were flown home from the Belarusian capital Minsk, arrive at the airport in Arbil, the capital of Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdish region, on Nov. 26, 2021.

More Iraqi citizens who were stuck in Belarus returned home today.

Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 433 people took an Iraqi Airways flight from the Belarusian capital, Minsk. Some of the passengers were granted temporary travel documents by the Iraqi government because they had lost their passports, the ministry said on Twitter. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) later tweeted that 427 of the individuals returned to the regional capital Erbil. 

Thousands of Iraqis have traveled to Belarus this year in an attempt to enter the European Union via neighboring Poland but got stuck at the border when Poland denied them entry. Many of the migrants are from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region and were motivated to leave due to poor economic conditions there. KRG officials have also blamed smugglers for the exodus. There are also a large number of Yazidis from Iraq, who are fleeing a possible Islamic State resurgence and poor living conditions in their home city, Sinjar. Other migrants have come from Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and other countries.

The failure to get into the EU and the sometimes deadly conditions at the cold border prompted many Iraqis to return home. As a result, the Iraqi federal government and the KRG began organizing repatriation flights last month for citizens who opted to return home. A KRG official told Al-Monitor last week that 1,872 people had been brought home. That figure did not include today’s flight. 

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