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Iran Press TV

Peshmerga forces demolish Arab villages in northern Iraq: Amnesty

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:54AM

Amnesty International says Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have intentionally "bulldozed, blown up and burned down" thousands of houses belonging to Arab communities in northern Iraq in an attempt to "uproot" their existence in Kurdish-held territories.

In a Tuesday report titled "Banished and Dispossessed: Forces Displacement and Deliberate Destruction in Northern Iraq," the UK-based rights group said the mass destruction led by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kurdish fighters in three Nineveh, Kirkuk and Diyala provinces, was "in revenge" for the Arab communities' alleged support for the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

According to Amnesty, the report was based on field investigation conducted in 13 villages, testimony heard from over 100 eyewitnesses and victims of forced displacement, and satellite imagery. It added that KRG forces also barred "tens of thousands" of Arab civilians, who had fled from Daesh, from returning to recaptured areas.

"By barring the displaced from returning to their villages and destroying their homes, KRG forces are further exacerbating their suffering," Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's senior crisis response adviser, said in the report.

The rights group also said that forced displacement and deliberate destruction of property without justification, which occurred during the last two years, 'may amount to war crimes.'

Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh launched its offensive in Iraq and took control of portions of the country in June 2014. The KRG has been the main force in fighting the terror group in the northern parts of the country.

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