Screen grab of Arab tribal chiefs speaking to reporters.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Arab tribes in Makhkmour on Tuesday condemned the latest Amnesty International report, which accuses the Peshmerga of destroying and burning Arab residential areas and preventing them from returning to their villages.
Nobody has prevented Arab families from returning home, but for the safety of civilians "the Peshmerga transferred the Arab tribes (from embattled areas) to the township of Dibaga near Makhmour," said a tribal chief.
"On a daily basis our villages are targeted with Katyusha rockets, and it is the Kurdish leadership that protected us," he told reporters, referring to ISIS raining rockets on Arab villages.
They are now "in Kurdistan. If there was no Peshmerga, we would all disappear," he said, referring to ISIS takeover of their areas.
The tribal chief dismissed allegations in the Amnesty report that the Peshmerga had blown up or burned Arab homes. Even "if our areas are reclaimed from ISIS, they still have the potential to carry out bombings," he said.
In the meantime, he explained, "coalition warplanes have been bombing ISIS militants in civilian homes. This is the nature of war."
Another tribal chief told the reporters that they "strongly condemn the baseless Amnesty report."
"They (Amnesty) claim that the Peshmerga have burned Arab areas , it is untrue," he said.
Chief of Staff of the Peshmerga Ministry, Jabar Yawar, responded to the Amnesty report on Wednesday on Rudaw TV.
“These reports are single-sourced,” he said. “They’ve given one side the chance to talk and not the other. Amnesty never reached out to us or ask us anything for this report.”