ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurds in the disputed territories are under threat of genocide as Shia ‘armed groups’ continue their assault on the Region, a Kurdish party claimed on Wednesday.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the third largest party in the Kurdistan Region, issued the warning. Raising the alarm with the Iraqi Federal Government and the international community, they asserted that following the Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia's attacks on Kirkuk on Oct. 16, the Kurdish people in Tuz Khurmatu's suffering warranted urgent and particular attention.
The statement mentioned that Kurds had faced “sectarian hatred” following the fall of Kirkuk which saw, according to the PUK, thousands of Kurdish houses burn down and looted in Tuz Khurmatu.
The UN confirmed that tens of thousands of civilians had been displaced, and many killed.
The party noted that after defeating the Islamic State (IS), Kurds are now being drawn into a new wave of sectarian violence ‘by certain radical Shia armed groups that want to impose themselves.’
“If the United Nations, Iraq, and the US do not gain control of the situation, the flames of sectarian conflict might lead to the risk of a Kurdish genocide in the Kurdistani disputed areas.”
The party asked for urgent help for the victims of Tuz Khurmatu and for the Iraqi central government to compensate the people.
The PUK also called on the Iraqi Parliament to form a committee to investigate the crimes committed in those areas and urged the government to prevent additional crimes by punishing those responsible and compensate those who were affected.
As a result of the assaults by the Iraqi forces and Shia militias on Kirkuk, over 160,000 people from the city and its surrounding areas have been displaced to the provinces of Erbil and Sulaimani in the Kurdistan Region.
“Within hours the lives of countless men, women, and children were devastated in Tuz Khurmatu. Thousands have lost their homes, shops and everything they owned. They are now scattered in nearby camps, villages and cities, wondering whether they will ever be able to return,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International recently.
Editing by G.H. Renaud