Ministry: 446 Iraqi refugees in Syria returned to Nineveh

A total of 446 Iraqis who had sought refuge in a Syrian camp from Islamic State militancy have returned to their home regions, the Iraqi migration ministry said Wednesday.

Khaled Abdel-Karim, head of the Ministry of Migration and Displacement’s office in Nineveh, told Alghad Press that nearly 446 refugees al-Houl camp in in Syria’s Hassaka returned to the province.

“The refugees were transported to Hammam al-Alil camp south of Nineveh for security vetting and will stay there for the time being”.

The United Nations says nearly five million people have been displaced since Islamic State militants took over large areas of Iraq in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”.

In October, the ministry said it returned 1250 refugees displaced by the war against Islamic State militants from the same camp.

Al-Houl contains 130 housing units that can admit 200 families, and was established during the United States invasion of Iraq under a United Nations supervision.

Iraqi authorities had unveiled plans to repatriate all refugees before this year’s end. A campaign launched in 2016, and backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops,  managed to retake all of Islamic State-held territories, most notably Mosul, the group’s former capital, by November 17th.