Kurdish peshmerga officers who took part in the Amerli operation told HRW they had seen 47 villages where militias has destroyed and ransacked property, the report said.
Militias looted refrigerators, televisions and clothing before setting homes ablaze. They also stole livestock and destroyed farmland, ruining livelihoods and making it even harder for residents to return home, the report added.
Militias named in the report include the Badr Brigades, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq, Kita’ib Hezbollah and Saraya Tala’a al-Khorasani.
“Following the operations to end the Amerli siege, pro-government militias and volunteer fighters as well as Iraqi security forces raided Sunni villages and neighbourhoods around Amerli in Salaheddin and Kirkuk provinces,” the New York-based group said in a report.
“During the raids, militiamen, volunteer fighters and Iraqi security forces looted possessions of civilians who fled fighting during the onslaught on Amerli, burned homes and businesses of the villages’ Sunni residents,” HRW said.
They also “used explosives and heavy equipment to destroy individual buildings or entire villages,” it added.