Two Iraqi planes took off Thursday night for Belarus in order to repatriate Iraqis stuck on the ex-Soviet state’s border with Poland, the transport ministry said.
Hundreds of Iraqis, most of them Kurds, returned home last week on a voluntary repatriation flight from Belarus, where thousands of migrants have camped on the border for weeks hoping to enter the European Union.
A first plane carrying 185 people was due to land in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, after midnight, Lawk Ghafuri, head of foreign media relations in Kurdistan, told AFP.
On November 18, a total of 431 Iraqis were flown back home from Belarus, many returning with mixed feelings.
Most said they had spent their savings, sold valuables and even took loans to escape economic hardship in Iraq and start a new life in the EU, but they never made it across the border.
The West accuses Belarus of bringing in would-be migrants -- mostly from the Middle East – under the false pretense that they will be to cross into EU members Poland and Lithuania.
Belarus has denied the claim and criticized the EU for not taking in the migrants.
Aid groups say at least 11 migrants have died on both sides of the border since the crisis began in the summer, and have criticized the Polish government over its policy of pushing migrants back.
Lebanon orders travel agents to stop advertising Belarus in bid to stem migrants flowLebanon’s government on Thursday ordered travel agents to stop promoting Belarus as a destination in a bid to stem the flow of migrants attempting to ... Middle East
Belarus, Poland committed serious human rights violations at border: WatchdogBelarusian border guards may be guilty of torture against migrants on the country’s border with Poland, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday, adding ... World News
More than 100 migrants mainly from Mideast flown out of BelarusAuthorities in Belarus said Tuesday that a group of 118 migrants who had hoped to reach the European Union via Poland were flown out of the country.It ... World News
Belarus waiting for answer from EU on taking 2,000 migrants: PresidentBelarus is waiting for an answer from the European Union on whether the bloc will accept 2,000 stranded migrants from the Belarusian border, President ... World News