Hawija Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kirkuk. Rudaw file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - More than a thousand displaced families from Hawija and its surroundings through a decision made by Baghdad were settled in Dubiz and other area, a move seen by locals and officials as another Arabization process against the Kurdish inhabitants of the area.
Fazil Mohammed, a displaced from the Dubiz sub district of Sargaran told Rudaw: “Most Arabs have come back to our area and want to seize our properties, the same way done before the fall of Saddam Hussein. They have seized the lands notarized in the names of our ancestors.”
In Sargaran alone, refugees have seized more than 72 houses, tens of cars and people's orchards.
“Big damage has been inflicted on people. They have left their homes and their lands, livestock, orchards have been seized. This is not law. It is another Arabization to the people of Kurdistan,” Ghazi Hadi, a refugee, told Rudaw.
After the events of Oct. 16 which led to the fall of Kirkuk to the Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi forces, tens of thousands of people from the city fled home in Dubiz and Sargaran in Kirkuk. They fear abuses and retribution. Some of them claim that their properties, cars and orchards have been seized.
By a decision made by Baghdad, more than 1,270 refugee families from Hawija, Riaz, and Rashad have been allowed to settle in Dubiz and surrounding areas. They have been permitted to plow the lands belonging to Kurdish people.
Diverse Kirkuk is historically home to Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and other groups. It is a disputed or Kurdistani area claimed by both the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraq. Up to 150,000 people fled Kirkuk after the imposition of federal control in October, according to KRG statistics.
More than 22 security and administration positions have been taken away from Kurds since Hashd al-Shaabi seized control of Kirkuk, namely, positions of governor and the head agriculture.
“Yes, the Arabization process has resumed,” Rebwar Talabani, head of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, told Rudaw.
Talabani added “This is happening while the provincial council was not there. All the steps they are taking are illegal. They have taken no constitutional steps since Kirkuk fell. Neither the council not Kirkuk administration is aware of this.”