Iraq: Up to a third of Al Tash camp refugees reported to have fled after fighting around Ramadi
UNHCR has received alarming reports that up to a third of the refugees at Al Tash camp in Iraq have fled because of the fighting around Ramadi last week. As you know, UNHCR does not have any international staff in Iraq and is unable to monitor the situation in the camp, which until recently hosted some 4,200 Iranian Kurd refugees. But we have learned from our partner on the ground that 30 to 35 per cent of the refugees have left Al Tash in the past few days. There are sketchy reports that armed fighters attacked the police station inside the camp late last week. We have also been informed that some of the local services, such as water and electricity, have been suspended and that the local police stopped visiting the camp, most likely for security reasons. All these elements could have contributed to a feeling of insecurity that may have led some of the refugees to flee.
It is not clear yet where they have gone. The most likely possibilities are that they are either trying to reach northern Iraq, or that they are on their way to the Jordanian border. As of last night, we had not received any reports from our staff of new arrivals at the Jordanian border.