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A plane carrying Iraqi migrants from Belarus arrives in Erbil

A plane carrying Iraqi migrants from Belarus arrives in Erbil

A spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government stated that in total, the number of migrants who were on board the Boeing 747 of the Iraqi Airways, was 431 people.

He announced during a press conference the arrest of ten smugglers who deceived the migrants, most of whom come from the Kurdistan region. The flight will continue to Baghdad this evening, according to Agence France-Presse.

Since the 8th of November, a large group of people, mostly from the Middle East, have been stranded in Belarus At a border crossing with Poland, forces from the two countries stood facing each other.

Most of those stranded have fled conflict or desperation at home, aiming to reach Germany or other Western European countries.

The West has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of pushing migrants to the border to use them as pawns to destabilize the 27-nation bloc, in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on his regime after it cracked down on dissent.

Belarus denies orchestrating the crisis, which has seen migrants enter the country since the summer, then try to cross into Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Reports said that about two thousand people camped in the cold on the border, some of them with children, and at least 11 deaths were reported in recent weeks, in light of the low temperatures.

Poland did not allow them to enter, and Belarus did not want them to return to the capital, Minsk, or to settle in the country.

On Tuesday evening, the Belarusian authorities offered to take these people to a nearby warehouse, where they would be provided with a warm space for accommodation, mattresses, water and hot meals.

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About 1,000 migrants have been staying in the warehouse since Wednesday, while another 800 remain in the makeshift camp at the border, according to the Belarus Red Cross.

It is not clear if there are other migrants elsewhere in Belarus.