World Bulletin / News Desk
“We want to see our villages, many of which were damaged by the Peshmerga, rebuilt,” Gawad al-Hani, a leader of the Kirkuk-based Bedir tribe, said.
According to al-Hani, at least 116 villages in the region have been damaged or destroyed within the last three years.
“There are 600 local families desperate for government help,” he asserted, noting that most of these were struggling to survive in displacement camps set up elsewhere in Kirkuk province.
Al-Hani added that Peshmerga forces had evacuated some of the villages for “security” reasons.
“But even in cases where ISIL didn't capture our villages, the Peshmerga destroyed our homes anyway,” he said.
“We are now hoping for support from the Baghdad government and the international community,” he added.
According to al-Hani, many of the civilians displaced from the region have been struggling in the camps for the last four years, unable to return to their damaged homes.
“Some families have left the camps and returned to their villages, even though many of these have been reduced to rubble,” he said.
Following an ill-fated referendum on Kurdish regional independence late last year, the Iraqi army moved into the oil-rich Kirkuk province after the Peshmerga withdrew.