Commander: 240 Iraqi refugee families repatriated in Anbar, Salahuddin

Displaced Iraqis who just fled their homes are transported to refugee camps as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra – RTS10RPL

Anbar ( Two-hundred and forty Iraqi families have been repatriated to their home regions in Anbar and Salahuddin provinces after expelling Islamic State militants, a military commander was quoted saying.

Maj. Gen. Mahmoud al-Falahi, commander of Anbar Operations, was quoted Wednesday by IkhNews saying that buses were secured to return those families along with their belongings.

“Those families have lived at refugee camps for four years,” Falahi said.

Refugee camps in Anbar still host tens of thousands of displaced families.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch accused Iraqi security officials in Anbar of hampering the repatriation of civilians at areas retaken from the Islamic State over suspicions of having links with the militant group.

In the same time, the organization said Iraqi officials were also forcing other reluctant families to return home even as those families feel it is unsafe to repatriate.

The United Nations says nearly five million people have been displaced since Islamic State militants took over large areas of Iraq in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”.

Iraqi troops recaptured Anbar’s town of Rawa, IS’s last bastion in Iraq, last Friday.

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