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World should help 'generous' Kurdistan: UN refugee chief

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on July 17, 2014Al-Khazar camp (Iraq) (AFP) – The head of the UN’s refugee agency praised Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan for welcoming hundreds of thousands of displaced people and urged the world to offer it “massive” support. Antonio Guterres told reporters during a visit to the Al-Khazar camp for displaced Iraqis that he was “humbled by the generosity and the solidarity of the government and of the people of Kurdistan in this very difficult moment.” People forced from their homes in Iraq’s Nineveh governorate since a jihadist-led offensive that started on June 9 have fled en masse to neighbouring Kurdistan, which has remained largely stable. Guterres stressed that the autonomous region had already borne a heavy burden with an earlier influx of refugees from war-torn Syria and he added that the strain was made worse by the fact that the government in Baghdad had stopped sending Arbil its share of federal oil revenue.

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