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First busloads of Iraqis leave Jordan for home
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12:15, October 01, 2008

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Two busloads of Iraqis have bidden farewell to their guesting country of Jordan after reports of improved security conditions in Iraq, daily newspaper The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.

"This is the first official return to Iraq conducted by the embassy in cooperation with the ministry of immigration," Iraqi Ambassador in Amman Saad Hayani was quoted as saying.

He expressed his hope that this will be the first trickle in a flood of Iraqis seeking to return home.

Some Iraqis boarding the buses said they were encouraged by reports of improved security conditions in Iraq, while others said they were forced to return due to difficult economic conditions in Jordan.

"It is an indescribable feeling of a man returning to his homeland, his family and loved ones. It is a good feeling for any man who returns home," said Abdul Nabi Hassan, who boarded one of the two buses before the 1,000-kilometer overland trip to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Iraqi diplomats said more trips will be organized in the near future, with plans to charter private planes to send the elderly and those suffering from health problems.

Almost four million Iraqis are currently displaced with an estimated 500,000 in Jordan, and around a million in Syria, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

But UN officials are reluctant to encourage Iraqis to return to an unknown future given ongoing attacks in various parts of the country.

"The UNHCR does not consider that, at present, conditions are such inside Iraq as to encourage repatriation," said deputy UNHCR representative Arafat Jamal.

"However, if an Iraqi takes a decision to return voluntarily and based on sound information, we will support such return on an individual case basis," added the UN official.

Source: Xinhua



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