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Migrants caught in border crisis in Belarus fly home

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Migrants caught in border crisis in Belarus fly home


Hundreds of Iraqis returned home on Thursday from Belarus after abandoning their hopes of reaching the European Union – a repatriation that came after tensions at Poland’s eastern border, where thousands of migrants became stuck in a cold and soggy forest.

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Many others still in Belarus have moved into a heated warehouse not far from the border, emptying out a makeshift camp, Belarusian state-run media reported. But the Polish Defense Ministry posted video showing a few hundred people and their tents still near an official crossing point.

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It was not clear if the two countries were talking about two different sites on their border, but it was typical of the duelling narratives that have marked the crisis, in which both Belarus and Poland have sought to portray themselves in a positive light while depicting the other as unfeeling and irresponsible toward the migrants.

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“We were hostages – victims stuck between Belarus and the European Union,” said a young Iraqi returnee in a black hoodie after his flight arrived in Baghdad.

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