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Legal Matters

Aerial Footage: Kurds Accused of Destroying Arab Homes in Iraq after ISIS Flee

A leading US-based rights group released a report on Sunday alleging that security forces of Iraq's regional Kurdish government had routinely destroyed Arab homes in areas retaken from the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL) over the past two years.

The Human Rights Watch report said that between September 2014 and May 2016, Kurdish forces advancing against ISIS destroyed Arab homes in disputed areas of Kirkuk and Ninevah provinces, while Kurdish homes were left intact.

It says the demolitions took place in disputed areas in northern Iraq which the Kurds want to incorporate into their autonomous region over the objections of the central government.

"One of the things that international law says is you cannot destroy civilian property unless there is a military necessity to do so. And the fact that this happened consistently after the Pesh (Peshmerga) was in full control indicates there was no military necessity for this destruction," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Dindar Zebari, spokesman for Iraq's Kurdish regional government, rejected the allegations, saying explosive devices left behind by the ISIS were responsible for much of the destruction in the area.

All sides fighting in the battle for Mosul have been accused of human rights abuses, with the worst allegations focusing on ISIS.

Sunni Arab politicians have previously accused the Kurds of seeking to recast the demographics of mixed areas in northern Iraq. The struggle is particularly intense in the oil-rich Kirkuk region.

Source: Al Alam

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