UN: 22,000 Iraqis in Syria Return Home to Flee War

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
United Nations officials say at least 22,300 Iraqis who fled to Syria years before have poured back into Iraq in the past three weeks to escape the Syrian civil war.

In this image made from amateur video released by the Ugarit News and accessed Monday, July 2, 2012, black smoke leaps the air from shelling near Ali bin Abi Taleb mosque in Talbiseh, the central province of Homs, Syria. The head of the Arab League urged Syria's exiled opposition to unite Monday, saying they must not squander the opportunity to overcome their differences as Western efforts to force President Bashar Assad from power all but collapse. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video) TV OUT, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL

United Nations officials say at least 22,300 Iraqis who fled to Syria years before have poured back into Iraq in the past three weeks to escape the Syrian civil war.

Figures released Tuesday show they have been joined in Iraq by some 3,600 Syrian nationals since Baghdad announced it was opening its western borders to fleeing Syrians on July 23.

U.N. envoy Martin Kobler urged international donors to contribute more to provide for the new arrivals.

He also called on the Iraqi government to allow greater freedom of movement to refugees. Many have not been allowed to travel on from the border.

Thousands of Iraqis fled to Syria to escape widespread sectarian fighting during the worst of the violence in their homeland between 2005 and 2007.


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