KRG Struggles to Cope with Syrian Refugees

By Abdel Hamid Zebari for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

With the continuously deteriorating security and political situation in Syria, and the growing fighting between government and opposition forces, many Syrian citizens — particularly Syria’s Kurds — have been forced to seek refuge in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. This resulted in a wave of displacement that local authorities in Kurdistan did not expect.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) set up the Domiz camp (pictured) — which is the only camp for displaced Syrians in the Kurdistan region — to accommodate nearly 10,000 refugees. Yet, with the massive influx [of refugees], the KRG has been forced to continuously expand the camp, while the number of displaced reached 40,000.

In 2004, nearly 4,000 Syrian refugees moved to the camp located in the city of Dohuk, as clashes between the Syrian regime’s forces and Syrian Kurds erupted in the city of Qamishli. These clashes were called the Qamishli events, and resulted in the deaths of a number of demonstrators, and hundreds of arrests by the Syrian regime.

On Monday, June 10, while hosting the French ambassador to Iraq, Denys Gauer, Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani called on the international community and UN organizations to provide Syrian refugees and displaced persons in the Kurdistan region with international aid and donations.

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