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Iraqi Red Crescent Says 25,000 Refugees Returned From Syria

An Iraqi humanitarian group says more than 25,000 Iraqi refugees who fled to Syria have returned to Iraq since mid-September.

The Iraqi Red Crescent says in a report released Tuesday, refugees are returning because Iraq's security situation has improved.

The Red Crescent report says most of the 25,000 to 28,000 refugees who left Syria did so in September and October, and the flow of returning refugees slowed in November.

Iraq's government has said up to 60,000 refugees have made the trip from Syria and Jordan in recent months.

The Iraqi Red Crescent report says some refugees returned to find their homes occupied, forcing them to join the ranks of internally displaced people in Iraq. The group says it collected its data from transport companies and Iraqi government departments.

Humanitarian agencies say many Iraqi refugees left Syria because their money ran out or their visas expired.

In another report released today, Human Rights Watch says Iraqi refugees who fled to Lebanon without visas are living in constant fear of arrest. It says Iraqi refugees detained in Lebanon face the prospect of "rotting in jail indefinitely" unless they agree to return to Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.