Syrians are seen at the Abu Kamal Iraqi-Syrian border crossing as some 400 refugees fleeing the fighting arrive in Iraq
Syrians are seen at the Abu Kamal Iraqi-Syrian border crossing as some 400 refugees arrive in Iraq after fleeing the fighting in Syria. Iraq will set up camps at two of its three border crossings with Syria. © Azhar Shallal - AFP
Syrians are seen at the Abu Kamal Iraqi-Syrian border crossing as some 400 refugees fleeing the fighting arrive in Iraq
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AFP
Last updated: July 25, 2012

Iraq to set up camps for Syrian refugees

Iraq will set up camps at two of its three border crossings with Syria to provide support for Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their homeland, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Iraq had initially said it would not accept Syrian refugees because it needed its police and army to maintain security within the country, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki changed Baghdad's policy on Monday.

"The council of ministers (cabinet) decided to build camps to house Syrian refugees," government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said in a statement.

The camps will be erected close to the frontier towns of Al-Qaim and Rabiyah, known in Syria as Albu Kamal and Yarabiyah, respectively.

Albu Kamal is currently under the control of Syrian rebels, but Yarabiyah and the third main border crossing, Tenef along the southern edge of the two countries' 600-kilometre (375-mile) frontier, are in the hands of the army.

Dabbagh said 50 billion dinars ($42 million) had been allocated to "provide relief and assistance" for Syrian refugees as well as Iraqis who were returning to their country to flee the violence in Syria.

Iraq's transport ministry has said more than 2,000 Iraqis have returned to the country by plane in recent days, as well as authorities having estimated "thousands" having crossed trough Tenef.

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