A returning Iraqi kneels down and kisses the ground after arriving at Irbil airport. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
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It's a change of heart that Iraqi immigrant Sekvan Agho never saw coming.Yet only three months later, the 26-year-old stood in line Wednesday at the German capital's Tegel Airport, his newly issued, yellow one-time-use Iraqi passport in hand, getting ready to head home to Kurdistan on an Iraqi Airlines flight.Agho is one of a small but steady stream of asylum-seekers who are voluntarily returning home.As Germany struggles to cope with the sheer number of would-be refugees who entered last year, the government has been encouraging people to return home on their own, and 37,220 did so last year.Nearly 122,000 Iraqis arrived in 2015 and only 724 went home. Similarly, 309 Afghans voluntarily went home, as did 148 Pakistanis, though only seven Somalis and 13 Syrians chose to return to their restive nations.Iraqi Airlines spokeswoman Andesha Karim said about 40 of the 180 passengers on the weekly Wednesday flight from Berlin to the Iraqi city of Irbil were asylum-seekers who had decided to head home.
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