Nearly 100,000 refugees have returned to Iraq since 2008, but many are leaving again—and for some, this may be the last time. “I was near a female suicide bomber a couple months ago. Then I was in my brother’s truck when insurgents opened fire on a bridge. My friend was killed in front of me with a knife,” one tells the New York Times, highlighting the fact that despite the improvements that induced so many to return, the nation remains far from secure.
More than 2 million have left Iraq since the American invasion in 2003, and some tend to come back during periods of relative stability. But many find their houses gone or have trouble finding jobs, and a recent UN survey found that 61% of returning refugees said they regretted coming back. Says another Iraqi, who plans to split up his family in the coming months, “It’s over; that’s it. I’m not coming back. How can I come back? I don’t believe Iraq will have a chance again.”