KalosYazidi family abandons EU dream, reluctantly returns to Iraq

The Kalos are Yazidis, a religious minority that was brutalized by Islamic State militants when they overran northern Iraq in 2014, they left for Belarus two months ago, driven by dreams of a new life in Europe.

Kalos family are from the Karbato camp in Dohuk province in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region. The region is considered the most stable part of conflict-scarred Iraq, yet Iraqi Kurds made up a large group among thousands of migrants from the Middle East who had flown to Belarus since the summer. Even in Iraq’s more prosperous north, growing unemployment and corruption is fueling migration, and the Yazidi community has endured particular hardship.

Kalo’s family was among 430 people who flew from Minsk back to Iraq, where 390 got off at Irbil International Airport before the flight continued to Baghdad.

Kalo heard the Iraqi government had agreed to repatriate citizens free of charge. He turned to his wife and they considered their choices: Return to their desperate lives in Iraq, or bear the responsibility if his mother died.

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