KRG: IS cause of destruction of houses in liberated area

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sunday denied the validity of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing Peshmerga forces of destroying civilian properties in liberated areas.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sunday denied the validity of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing Peshmerga forces of destroying civilian properties in liberated areas.

Dindar Zebari, head of the Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, replied to the HRW report and denied the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces deliberately destroyed Arab villages and houses in newly liberated areas.

The HRW released a report on Nov. 13 claiming Kurdistan’s security forces had unlawfully destroyed large numbers of Arab homes, and sometimes entire villages, in areas retaken from the Islamic State (IS).

According to the report, the destruction of homes occurred between September 2014 and May 2016 in the disputed areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh governorates, areas the KRG controls.

During a press conference, Zebari explained the damage to the villages and homes were caused by coalition airstrikes and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted by IS extremists. 

“A great number of IEDs were planted in these areas, especially civilian houses and public properties, which has been the main cause of the destruction following the liberation operation by Peshmerga forces,” Zebari added.

Joe Stork, Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa at HRW, told Kurdistan24 the KRG officials had promised to conduct investigations against any unlawful activities in those villages.

“We are very happy that the KRG leadership continue dialogue with and welcome us in the Kurdistan Region,” Stork added.

The Kurdish forces have often been labeled the most efficient ground units battling and defeating IS insurgents on behalf of the world since the group’s emergence in June 2014.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany