The United Nations has begun interviewing refugees at Turkish border camps to make sure they really want to return to northern Iraq, the world body said Tuesday.
The move came as rented trucks, helicopters and cars fixed by U.S. soldiers were being rounded up as plans moved ahead to bring up to 200,000 Kurdish refugees home from rugged border camps, an Army general said.The U.S. military's "Operation Gallant Provider" could begin this week and may be completed in two weeks, Army Maj. Gen. Jay Garner said Monday.
The U.N. high commissioner for refugees has insisted that refugees should not be repatriated against their will. The U.N. workers were conducting interviews with refugees at the Isikveren, Yekmal and Cukurca refugee camps on the Turkish border, the group said in a statement issued in Turkey.
U.S. soldiers have been working to guarantee the refugees who fled the forces of Saddam Hussein would want to return. For the third and possibly final time, troops expanded the security zone in northern Iraq on Monday.
Meanwhile, a United Nations envoy left for the Persian Gulf Tuesday to discuss plans for the takeover of administration of refugee camps in Iraq from the allies, U.N. officials said.