Iraqis stranded at Syria border

Hundreds of Iraqi civilians, including women and children, have been stuck on the Syrian side of the Iraq-Syria border after being refused entry by Iraqi security forces.

    Children have been prevented from returning to homes in Iraq

    The stranded Iraqis are mainly travellers returning to their country after visiting neighbouring Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The government in Baghdad has given no indication it plans to look into the issue. 


    News reports suggest that dozens of pilgrims from Makkah in Saudi Arabia are among those stuck in the desert along with sick people and their families.


    The Iraqis have appealed to human rights organisations to intervene and convince their government to let them enter the country.


    The Aljazeera reporter at the border checkpoint said one of those stuck in the middle of the desert was Adnan, a 13-year-old boy. 

    The Iraqis say the US military
    decided not to let them enter

    Adnan arrived at the checkpoint from Jordan after having his leg amputated. He has been waiting for over a week at the border.

    "I have been to Amman for a surgical operation. I had my leg amputated. I have been in this place for a whole week,'' Adnan said.

    The stranded say they have been barred from entering their country by a US army decision, implemented by Iraqi security forces. They have been gathering daily at the checkpoint appealing for a solution.


    A woman who had run out of money said the Iraqi border guards did not show any concern for her, while the Syrians took care of her and her children's needs. Another stricken Iraqi said a woman delivered her baby at a nearby mosque.


    ''Those who have mediators, gets a piece of paper then they are taken by the hand across the border (into Iraq). Cheers to the Syrians, such a generous people. They (the Syrians) have been offering us supper, lunch and breakfast,'' an old woman said.

    Among the stranded is Adnan,
    who had his leg amputated 

    An Iraqi guard pulled out his gun and pointed it at Aljazeera's cameraman  to show his resentment at the channel's attempt to document the drama.


    The stranded Iraqis fear their ordeal will continue for a long time and their plight will be forgotten even as the health problems of some of them worsen while others are running out of money.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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