THE SITUATION IN NORTHERN IRAQ
The Iraq War lasted from 2003 to 2011. During this period, nearly 2 million Iraqis have fled abroad and large groups of people have been displaced. Even after the war ended, many had to flee their homes due to threats from domestic militias.
THE SITUATION IN FIGURES
In early 2014, the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist movement began. They quickly captured several Iraqi cities. The IS fighters are forcing the local population to convert to their radical version of Islam. The extreme violence of the IS has now forced more than 1.8 million people to flee their homes.
Inhabitants: 32.6 million
Surface: 438,317 km²
Conflict: 2003 – 2011 (early 2014 – present)
displaced persons: 2.8 million (beginning of September 2014)
In March 2003, international military intervention against Saddam Hussein's regime began, leading to his overthrow. However, the violence continued and led to a civil war. The number of internally displaced persons – which already numbered more than 1 million during Saddam Hussein's era – increased dramatically. With the departure of the last American troops at the end of 2011, the war was officially ended.
ADVANCE OF THE IS
Due to the violence in Syria, many thousands of Iraqi refugees who had fled to Syria have already returned to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Iraq also hosts 223,923,000 refugees from Syria who have fled the ongoing civil war in their own country (figures | UNCHR November 2014).
REFUGEES IN SYRIA AND IRAQ
The return of refugees and displaced persons started in the following years. Despite the fact that the security situation had improved, the situation for many displaced persons and refugees in Iraq remained unsafe.
1.8 MILLION REFUGEES
At the beginning of 2014, the advance of the terrorist movement ISIS (now IS). By the summer of 2014, the movement had captured many Iraqi cities and declared a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled for fear of violence, persecution and forced conversion.