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Students at a school in Fallujah, Anbar governorate, in Iraq try to continue their lives after war between security forces and the Islamic State militant group. Photo by Noe Falk Nielsen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Photos: In a milestone for Iraq, more are returning home than leaving

Iraqis are returning home in greater numbers than those displaced by conflict for the first time in four years, the International Organization for Migration said Friday.

Since December 2013, Iraqi forces have been battling Islamic State militants who had laid claim to parts of the country in an effort to establish a caliphate, or territory governed by strict sharia law.

It took months to take back the once-thriving city of Fallujah from the extremists.

And even longer to wrest Mosul in northern Iraq from the militants’ control.

An Iraqi fighter waves the national flag as Iraqi forces and members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) advance through Anbar province, 12 miles east of the city of Rawah in the western desert bordering Syria, on Nov. 25, in a bid to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

An Iraqi fighter waves the national flag as Iraqi forces and members of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) advance through Anbar province, 12 miles east of the city of Rawah in the western desert bordering Syria, on Nov. 25, in a bid to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 6 million people had escaped their homes, many moving to temporary camps. But now, as of the end of 2017, 3.2 million people have returned home, while 2.6 million are still displaced, according to the IOM.

An Iraqi medic takes down an Islamic State sign and replaces it with a Shia militia sign on June 20 in the northwestern Iraq town of Ba'aj near the Iraq-Syria border. Photo by Martyn Aim/Getty Images

An Iraqi medic takes down an Islamic State sign and replaces it with a Shia militia sign on June 20 in the northwestern Iraq town of Ba’aj near the Iraq-Syria border. Photo by Martyn Aim/Getty Images

“Iraqis who remain displaced are among the most vulnerable, as they face obstacles to return, including damage or destruction of their home and local infrastructure, financial limitations and other constraints,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite.

Bullets and shrapnel ripped through a mosque in the city of Fallujah. Returning Iraqis have to undertake heavy reconstruction. Photo by Noe Falk Nielsen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bullets and shrapnel ripped through a mosque in the city of Fallujah. Returning Iraqis have to undertake heavy reconstruction. Photo by Noe Falk Nielsen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Specifically, Iraqis are returning mainly to the governorates of Anbar (38 percent or 1.2 million people), Ninewa (30 percent or 975,000 people) and Salah al-Din (14 percent or 460,000 people), the group reported.

Mosul residents play billiards at Captain, a popular club in Mosul, Iraq on April 28 after ISIS was pushed from that portion of the city. Photo by Alex Potter for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mosul residents play billiards at Captain, a popular club in Mosul, Iraq on April 28 after ISIS was pushed from that portion of the city. Photo by Alex Potter for The Washington Post via Getty Images

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