Thousands Returning to Safer Baghdad

Driven by better security and lack of funds to stay in Syria
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2007 12:34 PM CST
Iraqi refugees living in Syria head back to their country at the al-Tanaf border crossing between Syria and Iraq, in Syria Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007. A growing wave of Iraqis are returning home from Syria,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iraqi refugees are returning to Baghdad by the thousands, convinced that security has dramatically improved, reports the Times of London. The Iraqi embassy in Damascus has even organized a secure convoy to escort Iraqis home next Monday and has posted signs offering free bus and train rides home. “There is a large movement of people going back to Iraq," said a United Nations official.

Some of those returning from Syria may also be influenced by stricter visa controls there. More than 350,000 Iraqis reportedly moved to the Saida Zaynab neighborhoods in Damascus after the war began. "With so many more people in the city, the prices for everything went up, so it is best to go home when you can," said one Iraqi. Officials say 9,000 families have returned since February's troop surge, but 170,000 families are still displaced.