Sunday, November 13, 2016

HRW: Iraqi Kurds destroy Arab homes and even villages in areas retaken from IS

 Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that Iraqi Kurdisch peshmerga forces destroyed houses belonging to Arabs in areas the retook from IS in North Iraq / Kurdistan. It ought not to surprise anybody, after Iraq under Saddam for so many years sent Arabs northward with the intention to ''arabize'' Kurdish regions. But it still is disappointing. And of course totally illegal.  
The 80-page HRW report, “Marked With An ‘X’: Iraqi Kurdish Forces’ Destruction of Villages, Homes in Conflict with ISIS,”looked at destruction of homes between September 2014 and May 2016 in disputed areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh governorates, areas nominally under Iraqi government jurisdiction but under Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) control. The destruction, which took place after KRG Peshmerga forces routed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters, targeted Arab homes while leaving Kurdish homes intact. KRG leaders have maintained that these are historically Kurdish areas that they intend to incorporate into the Kurdistan region.
Human Rights Watch documented additional cases of unlawful home demolitions carried out in late October 2016. Details appear at the end of the news release.
“In village after village in Kirkuk and Nineveh, KRG security forces destroyed Arab homes – but not those belonging to Kurds – for no legitimate military purpose,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “KRG leaders’ political goals don’t justify demolishing homes illegally.”

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