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Iraq Flash Update No.3 - 22 October 2019

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Publication date


  • Over 7,100 refugees crossed into Iraq since the commencement of hostilities.

  • Continual increase in numbers of daily arrivals to Iraq, 1,700 refugees arrived overnight on 21/22 October

  • Kurdistan Region of Iraq authorities confirmed that formal and informal borders will remain open for Syrians to seek safety

  • KRI authorities have also confirmed that newly arrived Syrian refugees would be able to join families in towns and communities after an initial screening by Assayesh and registration by UNHCR.

Key figures

Estimated planning figures for potential refugee influx from North East Syria:

  • 50,000 individuals in six months

  • 6,951 individuals hosted in Bardarash camp as of 22 October 2019

Existing Population of Concern in Iraq

  • 270,844 Refugees and Asylum-Seekers (as of 30 September 2019)

  • 229,285 Syrian refugees (as of 30 September)

  • 1,55 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (as of 31 August 2019) 4,35 million Returnees (as of 31 August 2019)

Contingency stock

  • CRIs and tents for 10,000 families in country

Population movement

As of 22 October 2019, over 7,100 refugees have crossed through informal crossing points, of whom 6,951 refugees are hosted in Baradash camp, and 180 refugees are hosted in Domiz camp. Most of the refugees arriving are from northern Syria- Sare Kani village, Qamishly city, Hassaka governorate, Gre Spe village, Darbasiya village, Til Tamir village, Derike village and Amoda village.

There is a steady increase in the daily number of arrivals of Syrians at the Iraqi border. Over 1,700 Syrians have arrived overnight on 21/22 October and are expected to be transported by IOM to Bardarash camp on 22 October.

During protection interviews in Iraq, new arrivals indicated that only way to access Iraq at present appears to be through smugglers at Sahela and Al Walid crossings. Most of the refugees are crossing through Al Walid as the prices charged by smugglers are lower than prices charged for crossing the Sahela crossing point. Reportedly, the cost paid to smugglers varies between USD 250- 500 per individual. New arrivals indicated that many Syrian Kurds are waiting on the other side of the border (i.e. inside Syria), but are unable to cross the border because they lack sufficient funds to pay the smugglers.

Most of the refugees arrive to the border crossing point between 3 am and 8 am, where they are received by the security authorities and are hosted overnight until they are transported by IOM to the Bardarash camp. Due to the large numbers of new arrivals, some refugees are hosted in the local mosque, inside a UNHCR rubb hall and in other make-shift facilities. UNHCR provides core relief items such as mattresses and blankets. At the Sahela crossing point, UNHCR distributed a total of 850 mattresses and blankets as well as 40 plastic sheets and at Al Walid border, 1,400 mattresses and blankets, 40 plastic sheets and 66 hygiene kits. UNHCR’s partners, Harikar and ACTED, are present at both border areas to provide protection services including protection monitoring, child protection and identification of UASC and persons with specific needs. Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF) provides hot meals.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing health screening services and psychosocial support at Al Walid crossing points and the Directorate General of Health (DOH) is providing vaccinations at both crossing points. With the increase in the number of arrivals, there are not enough latrines at the crossing points, therefore UNICEF is currently working on the constructing latrines at Al Walid crossing point. UNICEF is also providing hygiene kits to new arrivals.

Due to the continuous influx, Bardarash camp is expected to be full within the coming week, so UNHCR is currently discussing with the authorities a location for another camp. KRI authorities have also confirmed that newly arrived Syrian refugees would be able to join families in towns and communities after an initial screening by Assayesh and registration by UNHCR.