Iraqis who lured Belarus to false promises died trying to enter Poland. Hundreds now want to return home.

Erbil, Iraq – About 420 Iraqis left Belarus on Thursday to return home, believing they were left behind in the hope of a brighter future in Europe. The repatriation flight, which landed later Thursday, was part of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Efforts to reduce growing tensions With our EU neighbors.

Poland and the European Union, along with the United States and its G7 allies, accuse Russian President Putin’s ally Lukashenko of trying to lure thousands of migrants and refugees into his country on false promises of easy access to EU territory. Immigration is creating a crisis.

The Iraqis are returning to Erbil on a return flight.
People board a return bus after landing at Erbil International Airport on a bus sent by the Iraqi government to pick up migrants who have been stranded for weeks on the Belarusian border with Poland, a member of the European Union. Were

Ismail Adnan / Image Alliance by Getty Images

Thousands of frustrated people, many of them from Iraq and Syria, spent huge sums on plane tickets and paid smugglers for what they expected would be a smooth journey between Poland and Western Europe.

Many Iraqis traveling to Belarus came from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Two Iraqi Kurds are among those reportedly trying to cross a dangerous frozen jungle route from Belarus to Poland over the past two weeks.

The border crisis between Poland and Belarus has intensified.


SO, a 23-year-old Iraqi Kurd who did not want to be named, told CBS News by phone that he had already spent more than three weeks in a makeshift camp on the Belarusian side known as the “Jungle”. Is. Barbed wire border fence. So far, several attempts to cross the border into Poland have failed.

He said Belarusian authorities had helped him reach the Polish border. On one occasion, he said, Belarusian troops helped him find fences as well as various locations that could be easily crossed.

Belarus and Russia have refused to use immigration as a “hybrid” tactic in a showdown with the European Union, but as pressure mounts, Lukashenko’s government on Thursday ordered hundreds of migrants from camps to more warehouses inside the country. I started moving to established shelters.

Irregular immigrants on the Belarus-Poland border
Irregular migrants are spotted in a Belarusian camp near the fence along the Polish-Belarusian border during the cold weather on November 18, 2021 in Grodno, Belarus.

Cefa Karakin / Anadolu Agency / Getty

Belarus and Russia have accused Europe of creating a crisis by signaling openness to refugees. However, Poland has made it clear from the outset that it will not allow any illegal migration across its border.

However, other Iraqis who spoke to CBS News from Belarus confirmed the SO’s claims.

Ismail Dalir sold his home in northern Iraq for ,000 40,000 to finance his children’s trip to Western Europe. Her 29-year-old daughter, her husband and their young child, and Dalir’s three sons, aged 25, 18 and 17, were all among those leaving for Belarus.

Dalir told CBS News that he was shocked to learn that his 25-year-old son Gilan, who was suffering from epilepsy, had died while trying to travel from Belarus to Poland. Earlier this week, Gilan’s body was returned from Belarus to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil.

Iraq-Kurdish-Belarus-Poland-EU Refugee
During a funeral prayer in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s northern autonomous Kurdish region, on November 15, 2021, male Iraqi Kurdish immigrants were carrying the repatriated body of Gilan Dalir home from a mosque in Belarus to Poland illegally. Died while trying.

Safin Hameed / AFP / Getty

The father said he never suspected that he was sending his children on a dangerous journey. The smugglers he promised were taking an “easy and safe journey” to the European Union.

Dalir said the rest of his family is now trying to board the next flight back to Iraq.

More than half of the Iraqi migrants who have spent weeks along the Polish-Belarusian border are believed to be from Iraqi Kurdistan, so the regional administration, which operates with semi-autonomy from Baghdad, has deported people. I have made extra efforts to help.

Rabwar Babkai, head of the Kurdistan Diaspora Committee in the region’s parliament, told CBS News that 420 Iraqi migrants would be on the first flight from Minsk on Thursday, and another 420 were already registered for repatriation.

He said the Kurdish administration expects an increase in the number of migrants seeking voluntary repatriation, and that every effort is being made to “guarantee safe return”.


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