Report: Iraqi Kurds' destruction of Arab villages could be war crime

By REUTERS
November 13, 2016 07:59

 
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ERBIL - Iraq's Kurdish security forces have unlawfully destroyed Arab homes and villages in northern Iraq over the past two years in what may amount to a war crime, rights group Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.

Kurdish peshmerga fighters are part of a 100,000-strong Iraqi alliance, backed by US-led air strikes and advisers, that is battling to retake Mosul from Islamic State but has so far gained just a small foothold in the city.

The New York-based group said in a report that violations between September 2014 and May 2016 in 21 towns and villages within disputed areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces had followed "a pattern of apparently unlawful demolitions."

The areas are nominally under the jurisdiction of Baghdad but are controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which pushed back Islamic State from swathes of northern Iraq that the jihadists seized in 2014 and has accepted more than 1 million people - mostly Sunni Arabs - displaced by the conflict.

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