Iraq sends planes to Belarus to pick up migrants | Abroad

The first aircraft is expected in Erbil early Friday morning, the transport minister has announced. Hundreds of Iraqis, mostly Kurds, have already voluntarily repatriated last week.

One of the tent camps near the border with Poland.

One of the tent camps near the border with Poland.

An estimated 7,000 people, mainly from the Middle East, have recently camped in western Belarus in the hope of reaching the EU. Some succeeded, but most failed because of the increased border security. The largest camps were evacuated last week following diplomatic talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and the migrants have been relocated pending return to their countries of origin.

Polish armed forces arrested about 100 migrants last week trying to cross the border from Belarus. The Ministry of Defense said they have been jailed. “White Russians forced the migrants to throw stones at Polish soldiers to distract them,” after which a group tried to cross the border at the village of Dubicze a few hundred meters away, the ministry said.

According to Poland, the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko has brought them into his country using people smuggling methods to use as “weapons” at the border, in retaliation for EU sanctions.


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