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HRW Says Iraq Forces, Militias Looted, Burned After Breaking IS Siege

A rights watchdog says Iraqi troops and Shi'ite militias looted and burned homes and destroyed villages after breaking Islamic State (IS) militants' months-long siege of a mainly ethnic Turkmen town in northwestern Iraq in September.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report published on March 18 that "Following the operations to end the Amerli siege, pro-government militias and volunteer fighters as well as Iraqi security forces raided Sunni villages and neighborhoods around Amerli in Salaheddin and Kirkuk provinces."

The report said the Iraqi forces "looted possessions of civilians who fled fighting during the onslaught on Amerli, burned homes and businesses of the villages' Sunni residents."

HRW Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Joe Stork, warned that "Iraq can't win the fight against (IS) atrocities with attacks on civilians that violate the laws of war and fly in the face of human decency."

IS militants overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in June, sweeping security forces aside.

Baghdad turned for help to Popular Mobilization units -- Shi'ite militias which in many cases are under direct Iranian command.

With reporting by AFP

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