As the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation’s assaults on Kobane in Syria continue, more refugees enter the Kurdistan Region, where the Kurdistan Regional Government plans to host them in a new camp in the outskirts of Erbil.
In addition to other camps that have been built to accommodate over 1.6 million refugees and internally displaced persons, IDPs, including Yezidis, Assyrians, Kurdish refugees from Syria and Iraqi civilians from other provinces, another camp for refugees fleeing IS in Kobane will open soon.
In a statement to KRG.org, Sirwan Abid, KRG’s administrator at the Qushtapa camp, in the outskirts of the Region’s capital, said the new camp will be located outside Erbil and is expected to host 800 families. It is planned to open early next year. Currently, 1,971 Kobane refugees live alongside Kurds from other parts of Syria in the Qushtapa camp, opened in August 2013.
There are 19,340 refugees from Kobane who have been registered in the Kurdistan Region since IS started attacking the Kurdish town a few months ago. Approximately 10,600 of them live with relatives and friends, explained Sirwan Abid.
The normal escape route for the Kobane refugees is to Turkey from where they enter the “Ibrahim Khalil” border crossing to the Kurdistan Region. Buses provided by the KRG drive them to Erbil or to the Qushtapa camp. All of the refugees from Kobane get a residency permit once they have been registered with UNHCR.
The refugee and IDP influx puts a high burden on the Kurdistan Regional Government. Due to KRG’s limited financial means to provide all the IDPs and refugees with further humanitarian assistance, UNHCR has recently started a supportive winterization programme. Blankets, kerosene and other necessary supplies are distributed to the refugees in preparation for this winter.
Last month, the Kurdistan Regional Government sent 160 peshmerga troops to Kobane, to assist the Syrian Kurdish forces in their fight against IS.