Bangladesh has signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled alleged persecution by the army, according to reports.

The Rohingya have been dubbed as one of the world's most persecuted ethnic minorities. They live in segregated conditions in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they are regarded as stateless people and unwelcome migrants from Bangladesh. They routinely flee the country to escape alleged persecution from the state.

More than 620,000 Rohingya fleeing a military operation in Myanmar have sought shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh since August.

"We are ready to take them back as soon as possible," said Myint Kyaing, a permanent secretary at Myanmar's ministry of labour, immigration and population, according to Reuters.

He added that repatriation can start after Bangladesh send forms Rohingya would have filled with their personal details.

The latest exodus was sparked following attacks by Rohingya insurgents that killed at least 12 people in Rakhine state. The military retaliated with what was described as "clearance operations" to identify and root out any fighters found in villages across Rakhine.

However, the UN repeatedly warned that the military operation may amount to ethnic cleansing, a claim that Myanmar has strongly denied.

The country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, faced scathing criticism for her prolonged silence and perceived inaction to resolve the crisis.

In her first address on the situation earlier in September, Suu Kyi condemned human rights abuses, but failed to address UN accusations of ethnic cleansing. She travelled to Rakhine in November, the first visit since the crisis erupted.

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