Hundreds of Iraqis repatriated from Belarus in border crisis | Immigration News


The boarding gate is busy with Iraqi government charter flights, but there are still more Iraqis staying in Belarus and Poland.

Baghdad, Iraq- Officials said that more than 400 Iraqis stranded in Belarus are flying from Minsk to Baghdad on a chartered plane, where they will stay in Erbil.

Iraq’s first deportation flight on Thursday is aimed at repatriating citizens who are heading to Belarus and wishing to enter Europe. According to reports, an imminent humanitarian disaster and violence on both sides of the Polish-Belarusian border where temperatures are close to freezing and lack of humanity Ideological assistance.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Shahaf said: “Today, 430 Iraqi immigrants were recorded as boarding an evacuation flight to Iraq.” “The Belarusian consular team is continuing to register the names of another 50 people.”

It is not clear how many passengers eventually boarded.

According to the Minsk National Airport website, the flight will be carried out by a Boeing 770-440 aircraft owned by Iraqi Airlines, which usually has 412 seats.

Al-Sahhaf confirmed to Al Jazeera that there are no more deportation flights planned.

Thursday’s flight departed from Minsk in the late afternoon.

It first landed in Erbil, northern Iraq, which is home to most Kurds. The remaining passengers will disembark at the airport in the capital Baghdad in the evening.

A video posted online showed that the boarding gate was relatively crowded and some passengers were sitting in wheelchairs.

There are no official statistics on the number of refugees and asylum-seekers trapped in the border area, but it is reported that thousands of people who have traveled to Belarus in recent months, mainly from Iraq, Syria and Yemen, are now trapped between Belarus and Poland. Hope to enter the European Union.

Iraq’s repatriation plan was formulated after months of tension between Belarus and the European Union. Critics accused Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of using vulnerable groups as retaliation for Western sanctions against his government.

Many people from Iraq and other countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have now restricted flights to Belarus.

However, many people are looking for alternative routes to Minsk, partly because Belarus continues to relax visa regulations.

“I’m so tired, I think I might go back,” an Iraqi asylum seeker wrote today in a Facebook group crowded with Belarusians trying to cross the border.

However, users who commented on his posts tried to discourage him from making such a decision.

“If you go back to Iraq, you will go back to hell!” another wrote.

Many people who plan to stay in Belarus are gloomy about their prospects in Iraq.

An Iraqi Kurd told Al Jazeera: “I sold my house and asked my family to provide financial support so that I can leave-it makes no sense for me to go back.” “I would rather die in the forest.”

At the same time, the losses caused by the crisis are increasing.

At least 11 people have died at the border in recent months. Among them, the bodies of at least two Iraqi Kurds have recently returned home from Belarus.

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