Syrians in Iraq Situation Report: General Situation and Response Update number 20
30 July – 06 August, 2012
This update provides a snapshot of the UNHCR response to the influx of Syrians into Iraq. The response is led by UNHCR, and is undertaken in full coordination with the Government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, UN agencies as well as international and national NGOs.
I. HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES
The borders between Syria and Iraq remain open and hence the arrival of new comers from Syria continues during the reporting period. A total of 82 families comprising of 347 individuals and 373 single men entered Kurdistan Region during the last few days. These new arrivals were registered for the first time by UNHCR. In addition, arrivals who had entered the KR during the past weeks but had been residing in the community continue to approach UNHCR for the level two registrations into ProGress.
In Domiz camp, 74 new arrival families comprising of 324 individuals and 258 single men were registered during the last week. In Erbil, 5 families comprising of 13 individuals and 81 singles were registered, while Suleimaniya had registered 3 families comprising of 10 individuals and 34 singles. It is to note that Syrian new arrivals are increasingly approaching UNHCR for registration in order to acquire residency. The total of the population registered by DDM and UNHCR in the KR had reached 9,773 individuals, out of them 4,234 were registered into ProGress. According to information received from the KRG authorities more than 11,000 Syrian national had crossed the border into the KR since March this year.
Reportedly, many Syrians left or are preparing to leave the areas of Qamishlo and Hasaka in fear of chemical weapons that the Syrian Government may use against the rebel groups hidden within the community, especially in Kurdish areas. New Syrian arrivals who were interviewed had reported an aerial bombardment on Dhahiryia area that allegedly killed 21 people in Hassaka.
Following the withdrawal of the Security forces from the border area and spread of militant groups, many families had to leave. Other triggering factors were reported such as loss of livelihood, shortage in water, electricity and gas supplies. The new arrivals are keeping contact with areas of origin through Iraqi mobile network that covers border areas. Due to the withdrawal of the borders Syrian security, as reported by new arrivals, access to Iraqi borders is noticeably getting easier.
There is an observed changing trend in terms of arrivals. The last week witnessed the departure of many singles who returned to Syria (Hassaka) allegedly by lack of services and job opportunities in Domiz camp, but also Single men returned to Syria to control the Kurdish areas in Hassaka following the withdrawal of the Syrian regular army forces. This week, by fear of being again attacked using chemical weapons, families, fearing for the safety of their children but also singles had crossed into the KR in increasing numbers. It is to note that Syria's unrest has intensified in the past few weeks, with fighting engulfing Damascus and Aleppo where around 700.000 Kurd Syrian live for the first time in the 17-month uprising against Assad family rule. Economic reasons resulting from the violence are also determining factors if the flight of the Syrian Kurds, the Kurdish cities in Syria have weak economies due to lack of investments and the policies of the regime. With the beginning of the Syrian uprising 17 months ago, the agricultural economy of Kurdish cities plummeted and the price of gas and oil quadrupled pushing Syrians to flee in search of safety and better life conditions.