Iraq crisis: Release of nurses a major development

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Children stranded in Iraq
Ever since the crisis deepened in the war torn-Iraq in which thousands of Iraqis has been displaced it was a first major foreign policy challenge infront of the Narendra Modi Government to bring back all the Indians stranded in Iraq. The crisis deepened after the Sunni insurgents Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) captured major towns of Tikrit, the birth place of former president Saddam Hussein and several other towns. Earlier, 600 Indians were evacuated from the conflict-hit Iraq after being facilitated by the External Affairs Ministry and about 900 more are to follow after the Indian embassy in Baghdad assured their safety. The latest positive development came from the strife-torn Iraq when 46 Indian nurses were freed by ISIS militants on Friday. The nurses were abducted by the Sunni militants and were forced to board two buses and taken to Mosul. They were reportedly kept at a hospital there. It was a fresh trouble for the Indian Government who is desperately trying to fight the crisis.

Following are some of latest developments:

1. All 46 Indian nurses were released by Sunni insurgents ISIS on Friday and was moved to a safer place in Ebril in Kurdistan. The development comes as a relief to the Indian Government who were under pressure to bring back the nurses safely. According to sources in Kerala Government, special chartered aircraft have been arranged at Erbil airport which will bring back all the 46 indian nurses to Kochi at around 7 am on Saturday.

2. One State Government and one Central Government representatives are expected to accompany the nurses on their passage back home. Earlier, the International Red Cross confirmed that all the 46 Indian nurses had been freed by the ISIS and the information conveyed to the Indian Government officials.

all 46 Indian nurses to arrive in Kochi at around 7 am on Saturday

3. The news of the nurses being moved by the ISIS was confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs as well as Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday who said the Indian nurses were moved in a bus.

4. According to CNNIBN report, one of the nurses stated that they were safe in the custody of the militants and that they were currently placed in an old building somewhere in Mosul. The nurses further said that the militants had not harmed them but instead had provided them with food and water.

5. The External Affairs ministry have confirmed that another group of 39 Indians who remain in captivity are unharmed. Governments officials have arranged an Air India flight Boeing 777 to bring back rest of the Indians from strife torn Iraq. The Spokesperson said India was not alone in working for the safety of its nationals and it has partners "inside and outside Iraq".

6. Meanwhile, Amnesty International have urged the Centre to come out with a strong immigration law to avoid situations like the present crisis faced by Indian nurses in strife-torn Iraq."According to reports, many of the nurses had not received their salaries in the last few months. If they were paid on time, they would have showed readiness to quit the country much before and the present situation could have been averted," Amnesty International India CEO G Ananthapadmanabhan and Deputy CEO Shashikumar Velath said.

7. Tikrit, has been the site of fierce fighting this week as Iraqi troops battle to regain control of the city from the Sunni insurgents group Islamic State - which was known as ISIS or ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

8. Islamic State insurgents and other Sunni Muslim militant groups seized towns and cities across Syria and Iraq and declared a ''caliphate" on the first day of Ramzan.

9. There were about 10,000 Indians before the start of the serious strife between Government troops and Sunni militants, backed by Al Qaida. The militants have captured two key cities and are marching towards Baghdad. Thousands of Iraqis have been displaced in the fighting that broke out on June 10.

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