Hundreds of displaced Iraqis, mostly women and children, were transferred from a northern camp to their home areas Wednesday (August 28th) despite humanitarian concerns over what awaits them on their return, AFP reported.
The civilians originally hailed from al-Hawijah but had fled fighting against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) years ago to Hammam al-Alil camp, about 150 kilometres north.
Early Wednesday, Iraqi officials and security forces began guiding camp residents to more than a dozen buses bearing the emblem of Iraq's ministry of transport.
More than 150 families, or around 550 individuals, were to be taken back to Kirkuk province as part of the transfer, said Ali Khodr, associate governor for displacement.
"A few days ago, 35 families were returned to Anbar. We are working on returning the rest of the displaced to their provinces of origin," he said.
More than 1.6 million people remain displaced in camps, unfinished structures or rented apartments across Iraq nearly two years after the country declared ISIS defeated.
The government has stressed its policy is for all displaced to return home, but many of their areas of origin remain heavily damaged, with few services.