A car accident that killed 9, and injured 28 took place on the main road between Turkey's southeastern province of Turkey to the Kurdistan Region on Friday January 12, 2018. Photo: DHA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Nine people have been killed and 38 more injured in a car accident in Turkey’s southeast on Friday morning, Sirnak Governor told reporters.
The accident happened when a tourist bus was on its way to the Kurdistan Region. It took place in the Kurdish town of Silopi, Sirnak Province near the Kurdish border.
The bus was transferring Iraqi refugees displaced from Mosul who had sought shelter in Turkey, A-Dyuf al-Aabiya, the company that owns the bus told Rudaw.
There are three children among the dead, Governor Mehmet Aktas said, adding that the refugees are Iraqi Turkmens who left Iraq to Syria, and then escaped to Turkey following the rise of the ISIS group in 2014.
The Iraqi Ministry of the Displaced provides free bus rides for refugees who want to return to the country.
The ministry last reported that it returned 345 Iraqi refugees from Turkey by bus through the KRG-controlled Ibrahim Kahlil crossing in Duhok province in December. It then transferred these refugees to Mosul, a city liberated from ISIS in summer 2017.
As of December 2017, the Iraqi ministry announced that 1,700 Iraqi refugees had returned.
The ministry has been using bus to transfer the refugees returning home from Turkey and Syria through the Kurdish land crossing both before and after an Iraqi-imposed ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region.
It is not clear as what caused the accident.
The Iraqi ministry has not commented on the accident as of yet.
Many Kurdish people and expats use the land crossing to travel by vehicle between the Kurdistan Region and into Turkey. People then can take flights to international destinations.
The Iraqi government imposed a ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region after the Kurdistan Region's vote on independence in September.
The Kurdistan Region called the measures "collective punishment" against the Kurdish people, and discriminatory, affecting the lives of citizens, some of whom are medical patients and need treatment abroad.
Iraq says that the ban will remain in place until the KRG "hands over" the two Kurdish airports of Sulaimani and Erbil. The KRG says it is ready to negotiate the terms of a joint administration of the airports, but talks are yet to take place.
This is a developing story… Last updated at 2:29 pm