Amnesty accuses US-backed Syrian Kurdish group of demolishing homes

October 13, 2015 02:37


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BEIRUT  - Amnesty International on Tuesday accused a Syrian Kurdish militia supported by the United States of committing war crimes by driving out thousands of non-Kurdish civilians and demolishing their homes.

The London-based rights watchdog documented cases in more than a dozen villages in Kurdish-controlled areas where residents were forced to flee or had their homes destroyed by the YPG, or People's Protection Units, who have seized swathes of northern Syria from Islamic State militants this year.

Amnesty's senior crisis adviser Lama Fakih said the autonomous Kurdish administration was "flouting international humanitarian law, in attacks that amount to war crimes".

YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said: "Very simply, this is a false allegation."

But Amnesty quoted Ciwan Ibrahim, the head of the Kurdish internal security force known as the Asayish, as admitting there had been forced displacements, but saying they were "isolated incidents" and that civilians had been moved for their own safety.

In a 38-page report, Amnesty said the forced displacement of mostly non-Kurds after the YPG had captured villages was often in retaliation for "residents' perceived sympathies with, or ties to, members of IS or other armed groups".

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