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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi Militias Destroy Civilians' Homes Following Operation Against ISIL

Sputnik News

14:44 18.03.2015(updated 15:11 18.03.2015)

According to a report made by Human Rights Watch, Iraqi military forces, alongside pro-government militias destroyed residential and business buildings in 30 of 35 examined villages in northern Iraq.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Iraqi security forces and allied militias destroyed houses and other property of civilians following an operation to liberate a northern Iraqi town from Islamic State (ISIL) militants, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report issued Wednesday.

Last September, Iraqi military forces, alongside pro-government militias, started a ground offensive to liberate the northern Iraqi city of Amerli from ISIL extremists.

The report titled 'After liberation came destruction,' based on the watchdog's analysis of satellite imagery and field visits, found that pro-government forces destroyed residential and business buildings in 30 of 35 examined villages in the area. The settlements were left by the Sunni locals during the 3-month ISIL siege.

Witnesses told HRW that they had seen pro-Baghdad fighters, mostly Shiites, looting the villages for valuables and burning houses down because of the residents' alleged links to the ISIL.

'Iraq can't win the fight against ISIS's [ISIL] atrocities with attacks on civilians that violate the laws of war and fly in the face of human decency,' deputy director of the HRW's Middle East and North Africa division, Joe Stork, said in a statement on the watchdog's website.

The Islamic State captured vast areas across Syria and Iraq in the past years and governs them according to strict Sharia law. The radical group has reportedly used the help of Iraq's Sunni tribes and advocates of Saddam Hussein's regime, toppled during the Iraq war 12 years ago, in its rapid advance.


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