Population movements from conflict-ridden Syria into the northern Iraq came to a halt on 10 April. This was due to the reported closure of the border at Semalka in Syria. However 84 individuals (21 families) sought asylum during the reporting period, and were admitted to the Bajid Kandela Transit Centre and registered with UNHCR.
A majority of the new arrivals are mainly from Al-Hassake, Aleppo, Kobani and Damascus areas in Syria. They stated that several hundreds who have fled these areas around three weeks ago are still stranded in Gerbalat, Ali Kamash, Al-Sharak mosques and public schools, some 6km from the Peshkabour crossing points. The new arrivals also add that those stranded are in urgent need for humanitarian assistance.
On 10 April, UNHCR met with the General Director of the Passport and Nationality Directorate and the Heads of the Residency Departments of in the Erbil, Dohuk and Suleimaniyah governorates to discuss the possibility of harmonizing the various procedures, as well as the need for accurate information on the presence of refugees in the Kurdistan Region. During the meeting, it was agreed that registration procedures for new arrivals, issues related to family reunification and file transfers, need to be aligned as soon as possible.
Following the 10 April meeting, the Residency Department in Suleimaniyah has resumed the issuance of residency cards to Syrian refugees. While residency cards for the refugee population in camps will be issued free of charge, the residency department has decided to charge an amount of 8000 IQD (approximately USD 6.6) per card for those outside camps i.e. at cost price. The same amount will be charged for the renewal of the cards. The residency department in Erbil is expected to resume the issuance of the residency cards as soon as possible. UNHCR will support the expansion of the facilities at the PARC office in support of this project.
Humanitarian actors resumed some activities in the Gawilan camp on 8 April. UN agencies and I/NGOs temporarily suspended assistance in the camp after a violent confrontation in Gawilan Camp between the Asayeesh, DMC officials and Zeravani during the Nawroz celebrations on 21 March. However DMC and Asayeesh are yet to resume their presence in the camp.
A monthly population count of Domiz Camp conducted by DMC and the Mukhtars has shown that there are some 35,000 persons currently residing in the camp. This is less than the previously estimated number of 45,000 persons. The verification exercise, which will be rolled out in July 2014, will assist with establishing the actual number of camp resident, as well as ensuring that the street addresses of the refugees’ physical residence are correctly uploaded in the ProGres database.
UNHCR has now stopped receiving additional families in the Arbat Transit Site due to the lack of space and adequate water and sanitation facilities. Only extremely vulnerable families and new arrivals from Syria will be considered for accommodation in the site.