BAGHDAD (AP) — United Nations officials say at least 22,300 Iraqis who fled to Syria years before have poured back into Iraq in the past three weeks to escape the Syrian civil war.
Figures released Tuesday show they have been joined in Iraq by some 3,600 Syrian nationals since Baghdad announced it was opening its western borders to fleeing Syrians on July 23.
U.N. envoy Martin Kobler urged international donors to contribute more to provide for the new arrivals. He also called on the Iraqi government to allow greater freedom of movement to refugees. Many have not been allowed to travel on from the border.
Thousands of Iraqis fled to Syria to escape widespread sectarian fighting during the worst of the violence in their homeland between 2005 and 2007.