By Spc. Nathaniel Smith, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
Feb. 11, 2008 - Prominent civilian leaders in southern Baghdad's Rashid district, with help from Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers, began the process of returning 200 displaced families to their homes Feb. 9. Members of the Saydiyah Neighborhood Council, along with soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade, began accepting paperwork to verify that families moving back were legal residents of the area.
Soldiers and Iraqis were looking for a deed or an active lease to show ownership of property. If that property has been damaged or destroyed, the rightful owners will be reimbursed with up to 1 million Iraqi dinars, roughly $825.
For one local man, the neighborhood's residents coming back served as a sign that things are looking up.
"To see people moving back into Saydiyah, this is one of the greatest days of my life," he said. "I'm very excited. The people from Saydiyah are good people; it's just people from the outside who are causing problems."
Another man agreed.
"Right now, we're in very good shape," he said. "We want to make it excellent; we don't want to go down."
Due to the high volume of people trying to move back into the region and the thorough process, everyone's paperwork is being vetted to guarantee no criminal infiltrate the area. Soldiers extended the process through the weekend, with the intention of not quitting until all the displaced residents are back in their old homes.
(Army Spc. Nathaniel Smith serves with Multinational Division Baghdad Public Affairs.)