“It was so cold: 430 Iraqi migrants have flown home from Belarus

Hundreds of Iraqis who for weeks camped on Belarus’ border with the EU landed in Iraq on Thursday. The approximately 430 people first landed in the city of Erbil in the Kurdish part of Iraq arrived by plane from Belarus’s capital, Minsk. Some flew on to Baghdad, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said.

The migrants, who also spoke young children, walked through the arrivals hall in Erbil with suitcases of warm clothes that they had brought with them to survive the European winter. Some looked discouraged but swore they would try to leave again.

Mohsen Addi comes from Sinjar in northwestern Iraq. He belongs to the minority Yazidis, who as a group have experienced massacres and being subjected to slave-like conditions under Islamic State several years ago. He had taken his wife and children on the trip, first to Turkey – and then Belarus.

“We were in Belarus for a month, but it was so cold and hard there,” he says.

“I would have stayed there until death, but my family was in danger. If the situation does not improve in Iraq, I will leave again. There is no other choice ‘.

Addi says his Iraqi hometown still lacks electricity and a proper health care system.

European leaders have accused Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging migrants to travel to Belarus to try to enter the EU that way. He must have done this as a kind of revenge for the EU imposing sanctions on Belarus after a controversial election in August 2020.

Belarusian authorities on Thursday cleared two large migrant camps near the city of Bruzgi on the border with Poland. It could potentially be a turning point in the otherwise deadlocked situation.

Source: Politiken.dk – Forsiden by politiken.dk.

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