IOM: First Families Cross into Iraq After Crisis in North Eastern Syria

Duhok Governorate - On Saturday night (12/10) almost 200 Syrian Kurds started crossing the border into Iraq’s Kurdistan Region (KRI) to escape bombardments in North Eastern Syria. The families crossed unofficial entry points into KRI, through the villages of Masaka and Sahela.

A day after their entry into Iraq, 182 Syrians were brought by local security forces to a processing center near the Sahela border in Duhok, KRI’s northernmost governorate.

IOM deployed Rapid Assessment and Response Teams (RART) in Sahela, to receive the Syrian families and evaluate their fitness to travel further.

Three medical professionals, including one psychologist, were on-site to carry out emergency health assessments. Roughly 30 patients sat for consultations; children were mostly found to be suffering from upper respiratory tract infections, tonsillitis and the flu; while among adults some of the health issues examined by the doctors were post-surgery complications, hyperthyroidism, and asthma.

The medical team also assisted two pregnant women, who were found to be in stable condition.

All patients were examined and given the necessary treatment where available. For cases that could not be treated immediately, follow up care will be organized.

At the processing centre, IOM has also provided food and drinks for the families. All individuals were then transferred by bus to Domiz 1 - a refugee camp in Duhok Governorate.

“IOM Iraq is gravely concerned by the emerging crisis in Northern Syria, that is putting thousands of already vulnerable individuals in harm’s way,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “In collaboration with UN partners, IOM Iraq will support Syrians as they cross the border, and protect and assist those in need.”

IOM Iraq will continue to monitor arrivals the border. A REMAP study, linked to the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) initiative, will be carried out to assess the numbers of Syrians crossing into Iraq through official border points.

IOM Iraq will support the UN response to these inflows by providing transportation that can take Syrian families from the reception facilities to the camps; Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) services; health assessments (including mental health and psychosocial consultations) especially at the border; by monitoring flows for the production of DTM reports; providing shelter kits and other non-food items as needed; and by communicating with communities to facilitate information sharing.


For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Email:

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