Thousands of Refugees Apply for New Passports in Northern Iraq


Date:  2014-09-02

By Michael Ireland

Special Reporter, ASSIST News Service

ARBEL, NORTHERN IRAQ (ANS) -- More than 200,000 Assyrians fled their homes in the Nineveh Plain, as well as from Baghdede, Bartella and Karamles, when ISIS moved to the north of Mosul.

Refugees stand in line in Arbel to apply for a new passport

Since then, thousands of Assyrians have flocked to the passport office in Arbel to get new passports, according to AINA (Assyrian International News Agency)

AINA reports the flood of refugees seeking new documentation began after the Iraqi passport office in Arbel announced on Aug.30 that it would start accepting applications from refugees who fled from ISIS from the Nineveh Plain and other areas.

Within an hour thousands of people came to the office, which was overwhelmed and could not process most of the requests, AINA reported on its website.

The new passports to be issued will be class (A) category, applicable in all parts of Iraq, AINA said.

The AINA report stated: "The office issued instructions and a list of documents to be submitted by the refugees wishing to obtain a passport. The documents included a letter from the Department of Immigration and Migration, official documents consisting of civil status ID card, Iraqi nationality (citizenship) certificate, financial statements, 3 personal photos with a white background, housing ID card, as well as a passport application form."

AINA says that 150,000 Yazidis fled from Si njar and Zumar.

"ISIS stole all money and personal belongings from residents as they fled, including government identification papers," the news agency said.

AINA said that many refugees complained that they could not provide the documents required to obtain a new passport, as they had been confiscated by ISIS or left behind in their homes.    

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