The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s security force, the Assayish, raided the houses of number of Iraqi Arabs and Turkmens by breaking their locks, it was reported yesterday.
According to Arab News, the houses of Arab and Turkmen locals in Irbil were seized by the Assayish, which was also photographed and circulated by local Iraqi media, showing names and telephone numbers on the walls.
Displaced residents said they could not object to the Assayish as they feared arrest.
"Armed Assayish members came at night, broke the locks and took over our houses," an Irbil resident said.
"People are scared and they cannot talk as they would be arrested if they complain," another said.
Local authorities, however, claimed that the houses were temporarily used to host Kurdish families who were displaced from Kirkuk and that no families were forced to leave Irbil.
On Sept. 25, Iraqis in KRG-held areas and in several areas disputed between Baghdad and Irbil voted on whether to declare independence from Iraq.
According to results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of registered voters cast ballots in favor of independence.
The referendum was heavily criticized by most regional and international actors, with many warning it would distract from Iraq's ongoing fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already volatile region.
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