Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Kurdistan Region prepares for mass influx of Syrian refugees after Turkish assault


The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is preparing to receive a large number of refugees from northeastern Syria following the Turkish military attack that began on Wednesday and has already reportedly displaced between 100,000 and 200,000, depending on the source. 


Ankara's offensive on the Kurdish-majority northern regions of Syria has so far resulted in the deaths of 45 Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and has killed or wounded scores of civilians.


Hoshang Mohammed, Director General of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Coordination Centre, told local media, “So far no refugees from western Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan, or Rojava) have arrived in the Kurdistan Region, but it is anticipated that a large wave of refugees will head towards the Kurdistan Region. For that purpose, the (KRG) Ministry of Interior is preparing a plan to receive them.”  


“We are working to prepare the plan which is to construct three camps in the provinces of Erbil, Sulaimani, and Duhok.”


In the worst-case scenario, he added, the government is expecting that as many as 250,000 individuals could arrive in the Kurdistan Region.


The current number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region is 1,041,000 individuals living either inside camps or in host communities and informal settlements. 229,000 of them are Syrian refugees who left home to escape Syria's protracted civil war or the brutal rule of the Islamic State. 


The Self-Administration of North and East Syria on Saturday announced the closure of the Mabruka camp after several mortar shells targeted the facility. Previously, the camp held more than 7,000 displaced persons.


At the same time, the Administration stated that it is also considering closing down Ein-Issa camp, which holds 13,000. Among them, 785 are listed as family members of Islamic State fighters and 479 as Iraqi refugees.