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.
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.
“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.
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.