Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Over 3,000 displaced Iraqis returned home on Thursday coming from Syria, a transport company said.
“They were all housed at Hammam al-Alil camp in coordination with the Ministry of Migration and Displacement,” Al-Mada newspaper quoted Chairman of the General Company for Transport of Passengers and Delegations Abduallah L. Bahedh as saying.
The company has secured 60 buses to bring the displaced people back home, the statement read.
Earlier this month, an Iraqi migration ministry official said Iraq has repatriated 55% of people displaced during the three-year war against the Islamic State militants.
Sattar Nawroz, a spokesperson for the Migration and Displacement Ministry, was quoted as saying that “more than 55% returned to their home regions, and we wish to close that file in the near future,” adding that the ministry has a comprehensive plan to repatriate all refugees.
In October, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, said “More than 5.4 million civilians have been displaced in Iraq since 2014.”
Iraqi authorities had unveiled plans to repatriate all refugees before this year’s end. The government will soon launch an offensive to retake Islamic State’s last holdouts in Iraq at western Anbar. A campaign backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops has managed to retake almost all of the group’s bastions, most notably Mosul, the group’s former capital.
Local and international rights agencies have repeatedly highlighted poor living conditions both at refugee camps and at Islamic State-held areas. IS militants had regularly executed civilians attempting to flee their havens. Officials have also occasionally pointed out that refugees were reluctant to return home due to the severe damage to infrastructure.