Human Rights Watch says security forces of the regional Kurdish government in northern Iraq have destroyed "large numbers of Arab homes" and "sometimes entire villages" in areas retaken from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
In a report issued on November 13, the New York-based group said that between September 2014 and May 2016, Kurdish forces advancing against IS fighters destroyed Arab homes in disputed areas of Kirkuk and Ninevah governorates, while Kurdish homes were left intact.
HRW said it documented additional cases of home demolitions carried out in late October 2016.
It said the destructions occurred in disputed areas that the Kurds want to incorporate into their autonomous region despite objections by the Baghdad government.
At a time when Kurdish forces are driving IS fighters from villages on the outskirts of the city of Mosul, the U.S.-led coalition against the extremist group should insist that Kurdish leaders and officers end these attacks, HRW said.
The Kurdistan regional government denied any systematic policy of destruction of Arab homes, but said Kurdish forces had carried out demolitions for security reasons such as clearing booby-trapped homes.
With reporting by Reuters