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Report: Kurds Prevent Arabs From Returning To Disputed Iraq Areas

  • RFE/RL

Human Rights Watch says Kurdish forces have confined thousands of Arabs in "security zones” in areas of northern Iraq that they have captured since August from Islamic State militants.

In a report on February 26, the New York-based group said Kurdish forces have barred Arabs displaced by fighting from returning to their homes in portions of Nineveh and Irbil Governorates.

Meanwhile, Kurds were allowed to return to those areas and even to move into homes of displaced Arabs.

The group says some restrictions were eased in January, but others remain.

HRW says Iraqi Kurdish citizens or forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government have destroyed “dozens of Arab homes" in areas which Kurdish leaders appear to be seeking to incorporate in their autonomous region.

It warned Kurds against meting out "collective punishment of entire Arab communities" for the Islamic State militants' attacks.