Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said direct flights from that country to Belarus have been suspended in order to protect Iraqis from human smugglers. The government is also proposing a voluntary repatriation to Iraqis who are stuck on the Polish-Belarus border, one Iraqi diplomats told AFP on Friday.
“The Iraqi embassy in Moscow and Warsaw are coordinating efforts to voluntarily return those stranded on the Belarusian border,” the Iraqi state news agency reported, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Sahaf. As he stated, “we are ready to organize more than one flight”.
He added that “Iraq has also suspended direct flights between Iraq and Belarus.”
Kurds dominate among migrants from Iraq on the Polish-Belarusian border
Among those with Iraqi nationality, migrants at the border are predominantly Iraqi Kurds who are fleeing their autonomous region in the country due to economic problems and instability, the AFP notes.
To help their citizens and ensure their safety, Iraqi diplomats from posts in Moscow and Warsaw were sent to the Polish-Belarusian border, explained al-Sahaf. Last week, the Belarusian consulates in Erbil and Baghdad, where tourist visas were issued to Iraqis, “were temporarily closed,” the spokesman added.
Turkey introduces a ban on flights to Minsk for citizens of three countries
Also on Friday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Turkey announced that the country had introduced until further notice a ban on flights from its territory to Minsk for citizens of Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Istanbul is one of the main air hubs through which migrants get to Belarus.
“Due to the problem of illegal border crossing between the European Union and Belarus, it was decided that citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, who want to travel to Belarus from our country’s airports, would not be sold tickets, so that they would not be able to travel there by plane” – stated the aviation authorities in Ankara .
Thousands of migrants, brought in by the Belarusian regime, stay in the border areas with the intention of getting to Poland, and thus to the territory of the EU. The European Union accuses Belarus of deliberately bringing people to Eastern Europe with tourist visas and then smuggling them to the West.
Main photo source: border guards