|Abu Fares and his family have fled from Iraq twice|
More than two million people have fled Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003 and another 50,000 leave every month, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Al Jazeera spoke to one of the many “urban refugees” now living in one of Iraq’s neighbouring countries – Jordan, Syria, Iran and Lebanon.
Abu Fares, a 57-year-old, who lived through years of violence and oppression under the Saddam regime, deserted the Iraqi army two decades ago during the Iran-Iraq war.
“I realised the war was of no benefit to anyone. I sent my family to Syria by car, and my mother and I walked for 10 days across the border to reach the nearest Iranian city,” he said.
After 2003, the war in Iraq was cause for celebration for the Fares family.
“I couldn’t describe my feelings,” Abu Fares said. “It was a mixture of joy and crying. I couldn’t believe that after 22 years I was be able to return to Iraq.”
However, the conflict forced them to return to Iran soon.
“Everything was chaos. We spent days with no water or electricity. I had to write my will every time I wanted to leave the house,” he said.
His wife told Al Jazeera: “In a car trip, shooting suddenly erupted. I told my daughter to lie down, everyone was screaming.”
As a result, they decided to return to Iran in search of safety and now they hold little hope of ever returning to a better Iraq.