(Reuters) - More than 7,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq have crossed back to the rebel-held Syrian border town of Albu Kamal in recent weeks due to better security there, an Iraqi official said on Sunday.
The reverse flow coincides with a lull in battles and air raids by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military, which has been on the offensive elsewhere in Syria, especially in the western town of Qusair, around Damascus and in the south.
The mayor of the Iraqi border town of al-Qaim said 7,000 out of 11,000 Syrian refugees hosted there had returned home.
"Each week, we receive refugee requests to go back to their towns across the border, they are freely going back," Farhan Ftaikhan told Reuters by telephone.
"The security situation in Albu Kamal is very calm. There have been no clashes or air strikes for about three months."
Around 152,000 Syrian refugees have been register...