Iraq tells citizens to flee violence in Syria
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s government is urging all its citizens living in Syria to return home immediately to escape being hurt or killed in the country’s escalating civil war.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Baghdad called Tuesday on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the opposition forces seeking to overthrow him to resist harming Iraqis who may be caught in the crossfire.
Al-Dabbagh said there was a rise in killings and assaults on Iraqis in Syria.
The U.N. estimated there were 1 million Iraq refugees in Syria and 3,000 more seeking asylum as of January, the latest figures available.
Thousands of Iraqis fled to Syria to escape widespread sectarian fighting during the worst of violence in their homeland between 2005 and 2007.