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UN probe confirms 100s of houses, businesses burned or bombed in Tuz Khurmatu

By Rudaw 16/12/2017
File photo shows a Kurdish family taking refuge in a desert area displaced from Tuz Khurmatu following the Iraqi takeover of the diverse town on October 16. File Photo: Rudaw TV
File photo shows a Kurdish family taking refuge in a desert area displaced from Tuz Khurmatu following the Iraqi takeover of the diverse town on October 16. File Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkmen units of the Iraqi Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi have looted, bombed or otherwise damaged houses and premises of mainly Kurdish residents in the diverse town of Tuz Khurmatu since its fall to Iraqi forces and Shiite militiamen on October 16, the UN Human Rights Office stated.

It warned that “violence could escalate and spread,” in Khurmatu.

The revelations come after a UN investigative team made field visits to the town on December 7 and 14.

The UN also stated in a press release on Friday that they are concerned about mortar attacks carried out against the urban areas of Khurmatu this month, adding that “Iraqi forces are still working to discover the exact locations from which the shelling has come and the identity of those responsible.”

The UN report stated that clashes had taken place in recent weeks between the Turkmen forces of the Hashd and the “Kurdish Security Forces – also known as the Peshmerga.”

The Peshmerga forces did not engage in any clashes with the Iraqi forces or the Hashd al-Shaabi in or around Khurmatu since the fall of the town two months ago. However, the Hashd and a Kurdish militia that calls itself “Liberation Army” exchange fire that has caused casualties on at least one occasion. The group includes some Peshmerga defectors and armed civilians who have been displaced from Khurmatu.

The UN team spoke to displaced Kurds from Khurmatu who sought shelter elsewhere, including Erbil.

The UN team visiting Khurmatu “saw for themselves in Tuz Khurmatu some 150 premises that had been burned or otherwise damaged. This follows reports that, on 16 and 17 October, a similar number of houses were looted and burned by Turkmen PMUs and civilians, and that up to 11 houses reportedly belonging to Kurdish families and officials were destroyed by explosives in the city,” the spokesperson for the Rights Office, Liz Throssell said using another name for the Turkmen Hashd.

She added that many of the people who fled Khurmatu to the Kurdistan Region have not returned home “apparently fearing repercussions.”

She said that the Iraqi forces, supported by the Hashd al-Shaabi, are in control of the diverse town.

“[There] is a serious risk that given the ethnic and religious fault lines in the area, that violence could escalate and spread,” the spokesperson warned.

“We urge the end of all acts that threaten the fundamental rights of the Tuz Khurmatu population. We also call on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that civilians there are protected and those responsible for human rights abuses brought to justice,” she concluded.

The UN investigation team stated on Tuesday that it had discussed the situation in Khurmatu with both Iraqi and Kurdish officials, including representatives of the Khurmatu displaced who staged a protest in front of its headquarters in Erbil earlier this month. It added that they would focus on areas where Kurdish officials and the displaced claimed the violations took place.

The Kurdistan Region parliament on December 7 labeled acts of violence in Khurmatu by Iraqi forces and the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi as "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" in a special session where the Kurdish MPs and Khurmatu officials presented evidence, discussing for about two hours the plight of tens of thousands of Kurds who fled the city since October 16.

Speaking to Rudaw on October 21, five days after the fall of Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq’s minister for the displaced, Darbaz Mohammed, said the city was "out of control" and it was "unsafe" for Kurds to go back. He asserted revenge killings had occurred.

Rights organizations, including Amnesty International, also recorded acts of killing and looting in the city.

A Rudaw field investigation on November 26 found that thousands of houses in Kurdish neighborhoods had been looted, burned and bombed, or appear to have been appropriated by the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi.


The Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister earlier this month assigned the Ministry of the Displaced to work with the Iraqi federal police and the Hashd forces to return the displaced, but a UN report in early December stated that only 2 percent have done so.

Khurmatu, about 60 km south of Kirkuk, is within the administration of Salahaddin Province in northern Iraq.

Ahmad al-Jabouri, Salahaddin Governor, who visited Khurmatu this week stated that the security situation in Khurmatu is normal and safe while advising the displaced to return home.

Media access to the town is restricted to a few Iraqi media outlets close to the Iraqi government or Shiite parties. All Kurdish parties have withdrawn their offices from the town, and an attempt to form a committee by the Iraqi parliament to investigate the allegations bore no fruit.


John Bird | 16/12/2017
Turkmen PMU are just like their barbarian Turkmen ancestors from the steppes of Central Asia, burning and killing like savages wherever they go! Our day will come and every single one of them will be convicted as a perpetrator of crime against humanity.
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 16/12/2017
Abadi chose to climb on the tiger's back and ride ... No matter what happens eventually, do not pity him.
duroi | 17/12/2017
How come UN Security Council swiftly votes against the democratic exercise of referendum in Tuz Khurmatu and Kurdish areas, but it fails after 2 months to "even discuss" the burning, bombing and looting the houses of Kurdish people in Tuz Khurmato. When UN is going to reform and stop these shameful century old Apartheid discrimination institutionalized policies against 40 Million Kurds who were left stateless by UN predecessor league of nations? Stop Apartheid now.
Andrew | 18/12/2017
As I have stated in many comments before these are War Crimes, Crimes against humanity, and are reminiscent of the tyrant Saddam Hussein's Anfal Campaign to rid Iraq of its ancient honorable Kurdish populations through outright murder mass genocide and Arabization!! These people in charge of Iraq, Turkey, and Iran claim to support all Kurdish peoples rights to live, do business and pursue happiness for themselves and their families!! Statements by Abadi chastising Iraqi Kurds for supposedly violating and not following the Constitution, while at the same time Abadi and his Government has violated almost every article in its attempt to suppress, oppress, and cut off Iraqi Kurds to the outside world. To Abadi just in case he is mistaking the Iraqi Constitution is supposed to be followed by all in Iraq and is not to be cherry picked for provisions the Government believes benefits its position.. Abadi and his team cherry picking provisions as an excuse to punish Kurds for expressing their rights and an overwhelming support for an Independent Kurdistan does not make them smart politicians it just shows they are trying to find the best way to suppress Iraqi Kurds just as the Criminal Tyrannical radical Islamist leaders in Iran and the Fascist Convicted Felon Erdogan has successfully kept the Kurdish peoples in their countries suppressed, oppressed, and abused for decades!! After decade upon decade of oppression that continues even after the US rid the Middle East of Saddam, which supposedly made Iraqi people more free and the Nation more democratic the Kurdish people are still being suppressed and oppressed no wonder they want their own Nation and want out of Iraq!! Why are these supposedly proud strong nations so afraid of and staunchly opposed to the creation of a strong democratic peaceful prosperous wealthy Country of Kurdistan? Because it will bring shame to these criminal Islamist tyrants and would show their true colors as Lefists racist criminal Islamist Fascists who are against anyone and anything not like them who disagree with them and oppose all their beliefs!! BIJI Peshmerga BIJI Kurdistan

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