More than 1,200 Chinese evacuated to Baghdad
Updated: 2014-06-28 13:30
BAGHDAD -- All of the more than 1,200 Chinese workers trapped in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra have been safely evacuated to the capital Baghdad, according to the Chinese embassy in Baghdad.
Iraq has seen an ever worsening situation since Sunni militants, spearheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group, began its offensive two weeks ago.
The evacuated Chinese employees, hired by China Machinery Engineering Corporation, were working at a construction site of a local power plant in Samarra, capital of the Salahudin province, which is close to the on-going clashes between the militants and the government security forces.
Over the past few days, the Chinese side has been engaging close contact with the Iraqi government and military agencies, demanding them to ensure reliable conditions for a swift, secure and orderly evacuation of the Chinese workers.
According to China's embassy in Baghdad, the first group of 45 Chinese were transported to Baghdad by helicopter on Wednesday, while the rest ferried to the capital city in two separate groups by bus over the following two days. The Iraqi military has provided protection throughout the entire evacuation process.
Currently, the Chinese employees are staying at a hotel in central Baghdad, and are in good condition.
Over 100,000 Chinese are now in Iraq, many of whom are employees with Chinese firms operating in the southern part of the country, northern Kurdish areas and in Baghdad, which are considered safe and secure regions for the moment.