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Amnesty: Kurdish area recaptured by Iraqis ravaged by looting, arsons

 Amnesty: Kurdish area recaptured by Iraqis ravaged by looting, arsons

An area on Kurdistan Region.

An area on Kurdistan Region.

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Kurdish areas recently recaptured by Iraqi government forces and allied paramilitary troops have been ravaged with arsons, looting and indiscriminate attacks that forced thousands to flee, Amnesty International said in a report published on Tuesday.

“Satellite images, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies collected by Amnesty International show that civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu on 16 October 2017,” the organization’s report read.

“Residents reported that at least 11 civilians were killed by indiscriminate attacks, while hundreds of properties were looted, set on fire and destroyed in what appears to be a targeted attack on predominantly Kurdish areas of the city,” it added.

The organization said it based its report on interviews with 42 displaced Tuz Khrumatu residents made between 18 and 23 October. It said its teams “conducted analysis of satellite imagery of the city and analyzed and authenticated photos and videos provided by residents showing damage to homes and other civilian property caused by arson and looting”.

“More than 100 people on motorcycles were riding around the neighborhood…They knew the houses [and entered them] one by one. They took anything valuable or worth something. Then they set fire to a blanket and threw it into the house, one resident told Amnesty.

The report comes to echo recent concerns by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) which has also voiced concerns of forced deportations and other violations at areas Iraqi forces seized from Kurdish troops earlier this month.

Kurdish media have reported of assaults and looting against Kurds by the pro-government Popular Mobilization Forces, but local Iraqi officials deny the reports. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had vowed to hold any violator accountable during the operations in Kirkuk.

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